The Reverend Dr Cyril Fayose, General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) has backed the call for the postponement of the December 17 Referendum to make way for more engagement with the populace to understand the issues better.
He said currently, it seemed many Ghanaians did not understand the issues well and that might affect the gains of the referendum should the country go ahead with it in December.
“We need a bit more education on what Article 55(3) is about and also what the consequential amendment that we will need to make”, Rev Fayose said in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday.
“Having said that, I think there are some really good things in the amendment as far as I am concern and should be considered…that article 55 (3) basically is the amendment that will trigger resource in local governance.
“So we have done this democratic experiment over the last 25-26 years and we need to take it to the next level and I believe that if we understand the whole process of the 55 (3) well and its consequential effect well, it will take our democracy to a higher level.
“For me it is an important national exercise and we shouldn’t rush with it but we must and do it well”, Rev Fayose stated.
“Even if the National House of Chiefs is divided and it is confused about what is going on, then I think we need more time to think through more carefully so that we build a consensus around it.
The General Secretary called on the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the Electoral Commission and other civil society groups to intensify education on the referendum among the populace.
He also called on pastors and church leaders to get to understand the processes and in turn educate their members for them to come out massively and vote in the referendum based on an informed position.
Article 55 (3) states that: “…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 elections to any public office other than to District Assemblies or lower local government units”.
That article has been explained to be an entrenched provision, which could only be amended through a Referendum, which per Article 290(4) could be approved when at least 40 per cent of persons entitled to vote, at the referendum and at least 75 per cent of the votes cast should be in favour of passing the bill.
The Ms Josephine Nkrumah, Chairperson of the NCCE has explained that on December 17, every electorate was required to undertake three basic steps at the polling stations to vote for at most five candidates as Unit Committee members and secondly vote for one candidate as Assembly Member.
The third activity would be to vote either Yes or No for the Referendum.