The Member of Parliament (MP) for Kwabre East in the Ashanti Region, Francisca Oteng-Mensah, has urged her constituents and Ghanaians in general to vote ‘YES’ in the upcoming referendum on the introduction of multiparty democracy at the District Assembly level.
The youngest MP also appealed to her constituents to go out there and campaign massively for an emphatic ‘YES’ vote in order to meet the required constitutional threshold of 75 per cent.
According to her, a ‘YES’ vote will provide a greater opportunity for citizens of voting age to participate in political activities intended to influence policies at the local government level and also meet the constitutional mandate imposed on political parties to freely participate in shaping the political will of the people and thereby strengthen the nation’s local government regime.
Ignore No Campaign
Ms. Oteng-Mensah, who is the youngest Member of Parliament in the nation’s history and in Africa, is also calling on all patriotic citizens to ignore the NO campaign being championed by a section of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) leadership and some few others.
The reason, she said, is because the NO campaign is anchored on deliberate distortions, misinformation and falsehoods with the view to misleading and hoodwinking Ghanaians not to support the referendum in order to serve their parochial interest at the expense of the nation.
She said, the NDC, throughout the processes leading to the referendum, was in consensus with all the other political parties and civil society organizations and had, in fact, canvassed strong arguments in favour of a YES vote to allow political parties to participate in local government, and therefore wondered why the party would make a hypocritical U-turn at the eleventh hour, barely four weeks to the referendum.
The NDC’s press conference announcing their U-turn in breach of the consensus they had reached with all the political parties and with civil society organizations as well as on the floor of parliament, according to her, has only exposed the NDC’s hypocrisy, treachery, inconsistency and deceit.
“Nobody is taking issues with the NDC for having a change of mind, but equity demands that, they do this with some candour and sincerity. They should not deliberately create their own distortions and falsehood and then on the basis of that suggest that it is rather government and the NPP that had acted in bad faith when in fact and indeed, all the processes leading to the referendum thus far were done with their concurrence and active participation having fully appreciated the essence of the exercise.
“It is sad that leaders of the NDC are ready to sacrifice their credibility and the image of multi-party democracy by openly breaching the faith and trust they engendered in religious groups by proclaiming YES to the Referendum”, she indicated.
The Member of Parliament made these remarks when she interacted with reporters [ in Kumasi] after holding a sensitization meeting with some of her constituents on Monday November 18, 2019 at her constituency, to educate them on the upcoming referendum and rally them to join the campaign for an overwhelming YES vote in order to successfully amend Article 55(3) of the Constitution.
An amendment of this clause will allow political parties sponsor candidates for local government elections, and for voters to be able to hold political parties directly accountable for their stewardship at the local and not just the national level.
The Kwabre East legislator also used the opportunity to commend President Akufo-Addo for demonstrating a strong commitment to giving real meaning to the concept of decentralization and bringing good local governance to the Ghanaian people in a free and fair atmosphere by agreeing, rather unconventionally, to devolve his appointive power back to the people to decide who they want to have as their MMDCEs.
She promised to intensify her campaign for an emphatic YES vote and to ensure that overwhelming majority of Ghanaian electorates and her constituents in particular support the referendum to change the face of Ghana’s local government regime from the current undemocratic nature inherited from the military system to be in tandem with our current constitutional democracy.