Statesman Leader: Akufo-Addo’s referendum withdrawal is the sort of statesmanlike response Ghana needs to forge ahead Featured

The President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has finally pronounced publicly on the hot debate over a national referendum, which, like the referendum on the creation of six new regions in Ghana, was intended to unite the nation and promote development.

As readers may recall, not only did the opposition National Democratic Congress make a fuss about the decision, but they also instigated people in one part of the country against the decision to spread the gains of development.

After that ungratifying episode, the virus was carried over into this -- the latest, suspended referendum – which was crucial to developing a national consensus on good governance at the grass roots.

The issues

On paper and on the ground, there is no gainsaying that we had already agreed as a nation that we must add value to our processes of choosing chief executives for our respective municipal, metropolitan and district assemblies (MMDAs).

Having practised the “executive pick” system, we were convinced that it would be politically prudent to give a voice to the people whom chief executives are supposed to serve, in line with the diktats of inclusive governance.

Unfortunately, when it came to putting in place the necessary processes, political convenience held sway among members of the NDC, followed by unnecessary agitation even though, technically, the outcome of the exercise was already determined.

Marks of a statesman

Unlike John Dramani Mahama, who has a track record of forcing “illegalities” down Ghanaians’ throats, Nana Akufo-Addo has listened to Ghanaians and, as result of what he learned through listening, decided to postpone a referendum on the question of whether to include political parties in selecting local-government-level representatives.

The President decided to postpone the exercise in order to develop a broader consensus, even though, in his own words, “It had been long apparent that political parties were in fact actively involved in district assembly elections, despite their apparently non-partisan nature.”

Without wishing to stir the hornet’s nest, we can cite evidence showing the NDC’s abandonment of good faith in pursuing a course that clearly betrays their own sense of credibility.

We at the Daily Statesman believe the President’s decision to call off this month’s referendum on partisan representation of the people at local government level is a fine gesture, exhibiting statesmanship unequalled in this part of our world. For this, President Akufo-Addo must be praised, and so should his government.

No party matter

Like the President, we believe this is not a matter of NPP or NDC or CPP or any other party; nor is it one of ethnicity.

That is why the hypocrisy and double standards clouding the debate ought to be stripped naked while we give the opponents of truth and accountability time to rethink their unpatriotic acts and fall in step with truth, forward thinking and development.

End this circus

It is our firm opinion, however, that as we initiate fresh processes to discuss the matter in the right forum and prepare for another possible referendum, the NDC will place all its cards on the table and avoid treating the good people of Ghana to another circus of unnecessary toying with the destiny of the nation and its people.

It must be made clear to the National Democratic Congress, at this point, that the real-life fallout of politicising the nature of our district elections can no longer be evaded by any sincere government or political party, for that matter.

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