December 17 referendum:NPP appeals to NDC to rescind ‘vote No’ decision
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has called on the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to rescind its decision of campaigning for a “No” vote in the upcoming national referendum.
The party said the news of the NDC’s sudden “U-turn” on the referendum came as a shock to the NPP considering the fact that the NDC had all this while been cooperating constructively with the government and other stakeholders to campaign for a “Yes” vote.
“This, they have done throughout the many engagements, conferences and symposiums that have been held on the referendum involving all the major political parties in the country,” the General Secretary of the NPP, Mr John Boadu, said at a press conference in Accra yesterday.
He said the NDC’s sudden decision to campaign for a “No” vote was nothing else but an unpatriotic betrayal of all political parties, civil society groups and the entire nation.
“Such a naked show of dishonesty, deceit, indecision, lack of candour and integrity from the biggest opposition party in the country projects a perception that the NDC would sacrifice the national interest on the altar rather where cheap political points are scored,” Mr Boadu said.
In his attempt to explain NDC’s decision to campaign for a “No” vote, he said the only thing that could explain the party’s “unexpected U-turn is that they are fully aware of the difficult task of getting the amendment through without a consensus”
“The NDC knew all this all along but pretended they were in favour until this last minute when huge state resources have been committed,” Mr Boadu added.
The NDC at a press conference in Accra last week, kicked against the introduction of partisanship into Ghana's local governance system with a call on Ghanaian voters to vote “No” in the December 17, 2019 national referendum.
The party said although it supported the idea of electing metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs), the December 17 referendum, which seeks to amend Article 55 (3) of the Constitution, had nothing to do with the election of MMDCEs.
“The proposed amendment is to introduce multi-party participation in the local government system in Ghana. When this happens, the needless NDC-NPP polarisation at the national level will be extended to the district assemblies and the unit committees,” the National Chairman of the NDC, Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, said at the event.
Reacting to the NDC’s decision, Mr Boadu said as far as the NPP was concerned, a “Yes” vote “was not about NPP and certainly not about NDC but about what was good for Ghana and the governance of the country”.
“Surely, the NDC are not saying that after 30 years, the current system of local government has delivered in terms of accountability, quality of service and its overall impact on the nation’s development,” he said.
No hidden agenda
Mr Boadu said it was never the intention of the NPP to take advantage of the referendum, adding that there was no inherent advantage for any party but for the citizens and the quality of leadership and public services they got from their local government.
“That is why we began on a platform of a consensus and it cannot be said that this entire constitutional reform exercise is to benefit one political party to the exclusion of others.
Indeed, it is rather the current status quo which favours one political party or at best, the two main political parties to the exclusion of all others,” he said.
If partisan advantage was the intention, he said, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the NPP leadership would not have selflessly spent the last three years convincing “our own rank and file across the country that letting go the powers of the President to nominate District Chief Executives was the right thing to do.
“If that were for partisan reasons, the President and his party would not be leading this exercise to give up on his constitutional powers to nominate all Chief Executives of all assemblies.
It is rather the “winner-takes-all system that is at the bottom of much of the acrimony in our politics,” Mr Boadu said.