The decision by Ghana President to call off the much-talked-about referendum has sparked feud among Ghanaians, with a legal expert and US-based accounting professor, schooling him (Akufo-Addo) on whether or not he has the right to take such action.
According to Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare, popularly known as Kwaku Azar, the President's approach towards aborting the controversial referendum was wrong.
In his analysis, he said he (Akufo-Addo) cannot speak to the Electoral Commission (EC) through a television broadcast since according to him, the EC on its part cannot suspend a referendum when there is a Constitutional Instrument (C.I) on it.
He lengthily explained that the legal way to stop the referendum is to annul the C.I with 2/3rd majority votes.
“The writ of referendum issued by the EC pursuant to Article 290(4) and Regulation 13 of CI 120 has been suspended by executive fiat. Briefly, the story is as follows: The President can not speak to the EC through TV broadcasts. The EC cannot suspend the referendum unless CI 120(13) is annulled. The bill cannot be withdrawn while there is a CI based on it! To annul the CI requires the vote of 2/3 majority of MPs. Rule of law is complicated when bills, CIs, and writ of referendum are triggered in a constitutional plane. One cannot simply withdraw a bill that has been held in abeyance by a CI”, said Prof Azar.
President Nana Akufo-Akufo in a televised speech on Sunday, December 1, 2019, said the referendum which was to be held on 17th December has been aborted due to divided opinions on the exercise.
“I do not believe this is a proper atmosphere for such an issue… It is with deep regret that I’ve given the instruction to the local government minister to abort the process and see to the withdrawal of the bill”, said in the President's address monitored by Ghanaguardian.com.
The proposed amendment of the constitution was going to allow local government elections to be partisan.