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MMDCEs’ Referendum: CODEO Calls For Voter Education

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The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) with help from the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) as part of its mandate are set to enhance awareness and understanding concerning the upcoming Referendum and District Level Elections(DLEs). 

This was revealed at the launch of its 2019 Election Support Interventions and two-day workshop for civic educators in the Greater Accra Region with indication that, 1,000 observers are set to be deployed to monitor the upcoming referendum.

Acting Chairperson of CODEO, Sheik Armiyawo Shaibu, speaking at the launch, said the project falls in line with the objectives of electoral transparency, credible electoral outcomes and participatory electoral processes that CODEO seeks to achieve.

“CODEO will recruit, train and deploy thousand election day observers on December 17. These observers will be deployed to systematically and randomly select polling stations nationwide to observe election day processes and to contribute to enhancing the transparency of election day proceedings.

“As in previous district level elections, CODEO will undertake civic voter peace education activities with the aim of boosting citizens informed and peaceful participation in the upcoming electoral processes and to promote public trust in electoral outcomes through enhanced election transparency” he said.

According to him, as part of activities scheduled towards ensuring a credible and transparent election process, CODEO has engaged 260 civic, voter, peace educators from each district to undertake community-level engagements with citizens and to explain the essence of the upcoming electoral exercises.

“CODEO recognises the limited awareness about these elections and hope to contribute to enhanced citizen’s understanding on the elections through a variety of mediums including media campaigns and community-level civic/voter engagement.

“As a non-partisan and neutral observation group, I wish to emphatically state that CODEO has no position on the referendum question. CODEO’s sole objective for civic education activities in the elections will be to boost general voter understanding of issues as well as participation in the elections,” he added.

The ongoing campaign by political parties, civil society groups and other stakeholders on the need for Ghanaians to vote YES in the upcoming exercise has seen some challenges by some persons arguing that, voting for MMDCEs on partisan lines will not auger well for the country’s growing democracy.

Meanwhile, the Head of Local Government Service, Nana Ato Arthur, has debunked such claims indicating that electing MMDCEs will not divide the country.

He said such a move will rather strengthen local governance and hasten development in the country.

He thus called for concerted efforts and intensified campaign to achieve a convincing ‘YES’ vote in the upcoming referendum in December.

“I believe that it is the only way to ensure strengthened grassroots democracy in Ghana. When you go to the assemblies, NDC and NPP people are there, are they divided? When you go to Parliament, NDC and NPP people are there, are they divided? I don’t think it is going to divide this nation, rather it will strengthen democracy at the local level,” he said in an interview with Citi News.

Background on MMDCEs referendum

Government has begun a campaign to encourage involvement in the upcoming national referendum on the election of MMDCEs by universal adult suffrage.

The referendum needs at least 40% voter turnout and 75% yes votes for the election of MMDCEs to be adopted.

This decision was President Akufo-Addo’s promise to ensure a shift from the current system of appointing MMDCEs which some have argued makes a President too powerful and prevents MMDCEs from being directly accountable to the people.

The referendum is for the amendment of Article 55(3) of the 1992 Constitution to allow for the public election of MMDCEs and expected to come off on 17th December 2019 alongside the district level elections.

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