BY: Foga Nukunu | OPINION |
I read an article attributed to Makafui Woanyah, the Volta Regional Chairman of the governing party, in respect of the December 17 Referendum and I wish to offer a humble response.
I suspect the article was a team work with narrow political and partisan interest. Despite that, I will try to avoid the usual NPP NDC game in my response.
We are all sharing our opinions for YES and NO on the referendum and citizens will decide on this come December 17.
Those going for YES have tried so hard to insult the intelligence of the No Campaigners.
They called them names: useless, anti – multi party, hypocrite and unpatriotic.
Based on what I read from Makafui Woanyah, I am convinced that he is just another apostle of YES campaigners who believes he has an entitlement to take a position on issues and others do not have that right.
The referendum basically is about the amendment of Article 55(3) in the 1992 Constitution to allow political parties to sponsor and present candidates for unit committee and assembly elections.
Makafui Woanyah in his article asserts that because parties illegally participate in local governance elections, it is an act of hypocrisy to be against the referendum.
What Makafui Woanyah may be ignorant of is the law prohibiting the acts of political parties in sponsoring candidates in District Assembly and Unit Committee elections.
Section 7 of the District Assembly Elections Act, 1994 as amended by Section 7 of District Assembly Elections (Amendment) Act, 2010 (Act 801) provides that:
“(1) No Political party or organisation shall endorse or endorse, canvass for votes for or in any way campaign for or against a candidate seeking election to a District Assembly or any lower local government unit.
(2) Any political party or organisation which contravenes subsection (1) of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two hundred and fifty penalty units.”
So don’t tell us people are sniffing cocaine already so let us legalise it.
Don’t tell us political parties are sponsoring SRC elections in our universities so we should make it official.
In his introduction, Makafui Woanyah proudly put out the information that he was a four term assembly member in Keta Municipal Assembly, sixteen good years as an Assembly member in Anloga.
Anloga Lashibi Electoral Area is an NDC stronghold. Every 100 person you meet in Lashibi Electoral Area, 98 is likely to be NDC.
Makafui Woanyah is a known NPP operative for years. He served as the Constituency Organiser and later, the Constituency Chairman for Anlo Constituency. He became the Regional Organiser of NPP.
Makafui Woanyah won Assembly Elections in Anloga Lashibi Electoral Area because he had enjoyed huge support from NDC members.
Filling and filing of the Nomination Forms at one point were done on behalf of Makafui Woanyah by NDC Constituency Deputy Youth Organiser. This action by the NDC deputy youth organiser even attracted his superiors from the Regional NDC Office.
NDC members in Lashibi saw Makafui Woanyah as an agent of development, not any party fanatic who would be doing the bidding of his political party.
This is common sense and we do not need to go to Anloga Market to buy this basic understanding.
The Makafui Woanyah Example in Anloga is the main reason why Ghanaians should vote NO in the Referendum.
The people of Anloga Lashibi looked at the competence of Makafui Woanyah and voted for him.
In a partisan NDC, NPP, CPP, PPP, NDP contest, Makafui Woanyah would not have found himself in the Keta Municipal Assembly through elections.
I got alarmed when YES Campaigners like Makafui Woanyah cannot reason with us.
I want to use this platform to remind Makafui Woanyah that in 2012, he contested parliamentary elections on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party.
Due to the partisan nature of the parliamentary elections, he Makafui Woanyah got only 3,599 votes out of about 40,000 votes. Partisan Politics made sure he lost miserably.
Recently, a Member of Parliament for Kunbungu based on the advice from his constituents opted for the amendment of article 55(3) of the constitution to allow partisan politics into our district level elections.
Instantly, the NDC minority in parliament issued a three -line statement or whip. Within 12 hours, the Honourable Member of Parliament retracted his previous position on the referendum. He is now on the side of NO.
I consider the Ras Mubarak Saga as enough basis for Ghanaians to go for NO. I don’t want my next Assembly member to be a stooge of a political party.
I have decided to be practical with the response so I want to use my own experience to conclude my piece.
In 2006, I contested and won Assembly elections for Duta Electoral Area. My two main contenders were known branch executives of NDC and NPP. I was a mere card – bearing member of NDC.
I would have been discarded if elections were to be on partisan lines because a whole branch chairman was in the contest.
The same time in 2006, twenty unit committee members were elected. They came from diverse political, social and religious divides.
At least, two of my hardworking unit committee members would have lost miserably if they had contested on their party tickets.
It will be funny in my electoral area to see NDC presenting five unit committee contestants, NPP presenting five contestants, CPP, PPP, NDP, UGM presenting five candidates each.
In my conclusion, I want to remind Makafui Woanyah that he was a beneficiary of a non partisan assembly system and he cannot, because of politics, run away from that fact.
I want to tell Mr Woanyah that if our laws are breached by the people especially the political parties, the amendment should not be an option. Enforcement is the way to go.
Otherwise, the provisions in the Constitution which debar chiefs, judges and civil servants from engaging in politics will soon be amended to allow them to do politics.
The consequences will not bode well for Ghana.
Source: Foga Nukunu, Former Assembly Member for Duta Electoral Area in Ketu South Municipality.