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Referendum discussions should be elevated above partisan politics – Hadzide

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The Deputy Minister of Information, Pius Hadzide, has called on the general public to desist from associating the upcoming referendum with partisan politics.

According to him, the polarization of the issue is only fostering confusion.

He, however, debunked comments by some stakeholders that partisan politics at the local level is bad.

There is divided opinion on the referendum with the two major political parties sharing divergent views with the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) arguing that government has not held even a single engagement with them on the upcoming exercise.

“No system can be perfect but partisan politics is not a negative thing as the NDC wants us to believe. If it is a negative thing then why are we practicing it at the national level,” Mr. Hadzide said.

“They have turned this into an NPP-NDC football game. This should have been elevated above partisan discourse and by now, we should have been able to drive this as a national agenda. How does the National Patriotic Party (NPP) benefit from partisan politics?,” he added.

He further noted that because of the way the discussions surrounding the upcoming referendum is handled, one is not able to get the real intent of it.

“Because of the confusion and the way, the discussion has been structured, we never get the opportunity to discuss the merits or demerits of the issue. The matter has become convoluted,” he stated.

“I think we have failed. I think we are frustrated and the NDC, for me are self-indicting, making scandalous comments about the multi-party democracy in which they are active participants as the largest opposition party today in Ghana. They have indicted partisan politics. They have indicted it when they are beneficiaries of it. John Mahama is using the vehicle of a political party to seek political power, he indicts the political system. They say it is divisive but they are still practicing it. I don’t know how to even describe the NDC,” he added.

Arguments surrounding Referendum

Due to the division in opinions surrounding the December 17 referendum, the Minister for Regional Reorganization and Development, Dan Kwaku Botwe wants the referendum halted for broader consultations.

Also traditional leaders are also divided after the Chairman of the Governance Committee of the National House of Chiefs, Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyebi II disclosed that the posture of the House for a NO vote did not represent the concerted views of the chiefs.

December 17 Referendum

The December 17 referendum is to decide on a possible amendment of Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution to empower political parties to sponsor candidates for local level elections.

The outcome will have either of the following outcomes: If the electorate votes YES, the election of MMDCEs, Assembly and Unit Committee Members in the near future will be on a partisan basis.

If they vote NO, then the election of these candidates for the local level elections will be on a non-partisan basis as being practised now.

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