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Christian Council urges all to participate in December 17 Referendum

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The Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) is calling on the electorate to exercise their franchise in the December 17 Referendum, saying it is their civic responsibility to do so.

“In all these, we must all be seen to be pursuing the national or public interest and certainly not our personal and parochial interest”, the Council said in a release copied to the Ghana News Agency on Sunday.

The Council also urged all the stakeholders to see the referendum as a national exercise that should be devoid of partisanship and polarisation.

It said there was the need to avoid misinformation and disinformation that would confuse the electorates.

The Council said its keen following on the development of the December 17, 2019 referendum, meant to amend Article 55(3) of the 1992 Constitution to allow political parties to sponsor candidates for election to District Assemblies or lower local government units revealed many misinformation filtering the atmosphere.

It said even though debates over national issues were healthy for democratic governance, the call by some individuals and organisations to ask the electorate to vote one way or another was unfortunate.

It said such calls continued to polarize the referendum and therefore undermined its intent as a national project.

One of the major complaints, according to the CCG, was the lack of education of the electorate leading to misinformation and disinformation on the referendum.

“The position of the CCG is that all the stakeholders must step up their public education programmes on the referendum to enable the electorate understand the issues and thereby, vote according to their conscience and based on what they expect to gain or lose after the referendum.

“It is true that the current decentralised local governance system has been practised for the past 26 years with successes and weaknesses. However, since reform is part of every individual, country and institution, there needs to be a sober reflection on what has been achieved and where we go from here in decentralized local governance.

The referendum therefore is to enable all Ghanaians to decide whether to retain the current system or change it, the Council noted.

According the CCG, the entry of political parties into decentralized local governance was resisted by some Ghanaians because of their past and present behaviour.

“Although we are not happy with the behavior of political parties lately, they have been operating for the past 26 years and a good measure of the development seen in the country over the past years can be credited to them”.

Therefore, the Council urged government, political parties, chiefs and other major stakeholders to engage further, build consensus and develop a roadmap on the local governance reform process.

The CCG said it would on its part, continue to use its pulpit to educate the electorate on the referendum and encouraged mandated state institutions to step up their efforts to educate the citizenry on the merits and demerits of the referendum.

Source: GNA

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