December 17 Referendum: We were not consulted on National House of Chiefs' position – Okyenhene
The President of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs has rejected the “purported” position of the national body on the December 17 Referendum.In a statement, the Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin II, said the reported position of the National House of Chiefs on making district level elections partisan, was not taken through due process.
The National House of Chiefs in a statement on Thursday called on Ghanaians to vote No in the referendumJustifying its position, the House said, “the framers of the 1992 Constitution had good reason for protecting our local government system from partisan politics and the rationale for new reforms has not sufficiently addressed the grounds for the exclusion.”
But rejecting the statement as the position of the National House of Chiefs, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin said: “the Standing Committee of the National House of Chiefs has no record of deliberations on the matter.”
“The Committee of the Whole House has not been informed or met on the matter in question.“The Leadership of the various Regional House of Chiefs have not been informed or consulted.“The public should expect from Nananom [National House of Chiefs] in the coming days, a communiqué on this critical national issue in line with established consultative processes,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, public opinion on the referendum is still heavily spilt with the campaign for keeping political parties out of district-level elections gaining more ground.The government needs at least 40 percent of eligible voters turning out to vote and at least 75 percent voting in favour for its ‘Yes’ campaign to succeed.Currently, Article 55/3 of the Constitution prevents political parties from participating in district-level elections.
“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 either than to district assemblies or lower local government unit.”
To amend this, it must be taken through a referendum since the clause is entrenched.
Read Okyenhene’s full statement below