Ghana: December 17 Referendum Needs Attention

14 November 2019

Barely a month to the December 17 referendum to determine whether to amend the law to enable Municipal, Metropolitan and District Chief Executives (MMCEs) be elected on partisan lines, it has emerged that majority of Ghanaians are unaware of the referendum.

A new Afrobarometer survey conducted by Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) revealed that only few Ghanaians know about the upcoming referendum, leaving more than half of the population with no knowledge of the referendum on December 17.

According to the survey, over 60 per cent indicated that they were unaware and less than half of the population fully understood why the referendum is going to be held. That is worrying.

The Ghanaian Times is concerned because the issue that the referendum is going to deal with is very significant and likely to change how local politics is conducted in the country forever.

It is, therefore surprising, that barely months to the referendum, majority of Ghanaians are unaware about it.

If we are to believe the report which we have no reason to doubt, then there is a lot of work to be done.

Already there appears to be a lot of misunderstanding and miscommunication about what the referendum is all about.

We have gathered a lot of misleading information about the referendum but that is our main concern.

Our concern is that majority of Ghanaians who would be voting on the critical matter of changing a law to unable us elect leaders at the local level are ill informed about it.

This is a matter that must be placed at the doorstep of not only institutions that are mandated by law to conduct public education on such matters but all political parties and civil society organisations.

Fortunately, we have few weeks left and it is not late for all stakeholders to mount a sustained campaign to educate Ghanaians on the referendum.

We already observe that political parties in the last few days are taking position for a "Yes" or "No" vote and hope that they would carry the message to their members at the grass root and explain the matter to them.

It is also important for the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Information Service as well as Civil Society Organisations to intensify their education of the public to fully understand what is at stake.

We must, in the national interest ensure that the exercise is successful no matter the outcome.

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