Rural Development Minister, Hajia Alima Mahama
Rural Development Minister, Hajia Alima Mahama

The Local Government Minister has expressed dismay over the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) stance on the December 17 referendum.

Hajia Alima Mahama said the NDC’s argument at a press conference Tuesday afternoon was in sharp contrast to what their Members of Parliament (MPs) pushed for in Parliament.

RELATED: 13 Infographics that explain NDC’s reason for ‘NO Vote’ campaign ahead of referendum

National Chairman of the opposition party, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, addressing the media, asked Ghanaians to vote ‘NO,’ to keep local government politics non-partisan as entrenched in the 1992 constitution.

The NDC argued that the polarisation of the country at the national level along party lines is enough and local governments should not suffer the same fate.

RELATED: NDC calls for ‘NO’ Vote in impending referendum

However, the government is adamant.

The Minister, speaking on Joy FM’s Top Story, insisted that multi-party democracy must be extended to the local government level, the reason the government is campaigning for a ‘YES’ vote.

She added that the Minority NDC MPs agreed that is the ideal thing to do so she is surprised the party has come out with a contrasting opinion.

READ: Akufo-Addo has failed to achieve 80% of promises he made – MP

“Go and look through the Hansard and see their arguments on that day,” she charged.

Amendment of article 55/3

For political parties to be eligible to participate in local government elections, Article 55/3, an entrenched clause, has to be amended in a referendum.

That referendum has since been scheduled for December 17, 2019.

Hajia Mahama argues that ahead of a Parliamentary vote to amend Article 243/1 of the Constitution to allow Ghanaians to elect their own MMDCEs, MPs had unanimously agreed that political parties be allowed to partake in the said election.

That would mean amending Article 55/3 to allow the parties partake in local government elections, where the MMDCEs fall. 

So the decision was taken in Parliament to hold the referendum to ask Ghanaians to give the green light to political parties to partake in local government elections, the Minister said.

She said it is, therefore, confusing why the NDC would come out to state a position different from those of their MPs.

Meanwhile, the NDC insists they are also in favour of changing the law to allow the election of MMDCEs but they maintain candidates must stand as independents and political parties must remain barred to prevent further polarisation.