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Politics of Wednesday, 23 October 2019


Information Officers advised to intensify sensitisation on Referendum

Metropolitan, Municipal and District Information Officers (MMDIOs) in the Upper West Region have been advised to collaborate with other stakeholders to sensitise the electorate on the need for effective participation in the upcoming referendum in December.

They have also been advised to educate the electorate on the need to vote in the affirmative for the referendum question to amend Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution to allow political parties to participate in the District Level Elections (DLEs).

Mr Sinto Mustapha Nuhu, the Upper West Regional Information Officer, gave the advice in Wa at a training for the MMDIOs on the upcoming referendum, scheduled for December 17.

He said, as information officers, it was a mandate to sensitise the citizenry to understand the referendum question and the implication of a “Yes” or “No” vote to be able to exercise their franchise well.

“We need to also educate and appeal to the voters to come out to vote massively so as to meet the minimum turnout of 40 per cent and the 75 per cent approval”, he stated.

Currently, Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution prohibits political parties from participating or sponsoring candidates in the DLEs.

Mr Nuhu, however, explained that in the event, where the citizens voted against the referendum question, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) would still be elected but on non-partisan basis.

He said, if MMDCEs were elected on partisan basis, it would give opportunity to the smaller parties to participate in governance and decision making, particularly at the local level, as some of them would be elected as MMDCEs or Assembly Members.

He explained that election of MMDCEs would give the citizens the opportunity to hold the MMDCEs accountable, as they were currently accountable to their political heads, who appointed them to those offices and could revoke their appointment at any time.

Mr Nuhu indicated that it would also allow the MMDCEs and their assemblies to control monies meant for development at the district level and to fully implement their development plans without being burdened with projects from the central government.

The Information Officer explained that Article 243 (1) of the Constitution, which entrusted the president with the power to appoint MMDCEs, was before Parliament for amendment to enable MMDCEs to be elected.

According to Mr Nuhu, election of MMDCEs was identified as a governance gap, and thus formed part of the commitment of some political parties, including; the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress to bridge that gap with the election of MMDCEs.