Minority MPs ‘secretly’ campaigning for ‘Yes’ votes in the upcoming referendum on whether or not political parties should be allowed to participate in the local governance process will be sanctioned by the leadership of the National Democratic Congress, Minority leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu has said.
According to Mr. Iddrisu, any such move by any member of the minority in parliament will be in clear contravention of the party’s position on the matter hence will attract the needed sanctions.
The National Democratic Congress, last week, disclosed that it was convinced that a ‘No’ was the right way to go, particularly, because permitting partisan politics at the local level could further deepen the polarisation within the society.
Haruna Iddrisu stated that the party and leadership of the House have observed that some of its legislators have gone out of line to campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote which will allow political partisan involvement in the local level elections contrary to the recent position declared by the party.
Ras Mubarak argues, “Certainly the NDC as a political party has some challenges with aspects of the bill which we have made clear. I respect the party’s position but I completely disagree with the party that we should be advocating for a ‘No’ vote at the referendum. My position for a ‘Yes’ vote is hinged on the fact there is political party involvement in the elections anyway. In every part of the district there is hardly any assemblyman or woman who is not tacitly on one political party or the other, go the assemblies and check. we shouldn’t play ostrich in the election of assemblymen and women is concerned.”
But, Haruna Iddrisu, rationalising the position taken by the party insisted that the amendments submitted by the government are not comprehensive enough to get the minority MPs to support the Referendum.
“The parliamentary caucus of the minority members is just an organ of the party. The party has taken a definite political position guided by its flagbearer John Dramani Mahama, National Chairman and his advisor on local government Professor Kwamina Ahwoi. We have extensively discussed the matter and we think that there is merit, the Referendum question to Article 55(3) is flawed and therefore, we are unable to support it. The constitutional amendments put before parliament Article 243(1) and the rest are not comprehensive enough to warrant our support of it” he detailed.
On December 17, Ghanaians will be required to partake in a Referendum to amend Article 55(3) of the 1992 constitution which forms part of government’s plan to devolve power to the local level by giving people opportunity to choose their leaders.
Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution, which is an entrenched provision, states: “Subject to the provisions of this article, a political party is free to participate in shaping the political will of the people, to disseminate information on political ideas, social and economic programmes of a national character and sponsor candidates for election to any public office other than the district assemblies or lower local government units.”