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Stop intimidating No campaigners on Referendum-Gender&Governance NGO tells Authorities

A gender and governance non-governmental organization in the northern region, NORSAAC has appealed to traditional authorities to stop intimidating campaigners who hold different views on the creation of new regions.

It said, those people should be allowed to campaign because it is their democratic right to either vote Yes or No.  NORSAAC assured that it will support any interest group with different opinions on the creation.

NORSAAC appeal follows  threats from a Chief in the Volta region on people who may not vote yes for the creation of Oti region.

The interest of CSOs, according to NORSAAC, is to ensure that citizens make well- informed decisions and participate without any threats either from the state or any authority.

The process, it observed, will not be seen to be fair if different views are not allowed during the process. NORSAAC, while appealing for a fair process, also called on the Ministry of Regional Integration and Development to make available the necessary resources for the impending referendum that will pave the way for either mergers or the creation of new regions.

According NORSAAC, the NCCE which is one of the major stakeholders in the referendum has not been resourced to carry out education on the process even though the government of the day has a keen interest.

The Executive Director of NORSAAC, Mr. Alhassan Mohammed Awal stated this during the dissemination of survey results of interest, knowledge and awareness of citizens around the referendum in the northern region.

He said it is incumbent on the Electoral commission (EC) to ensure that figures of eligible voters are displayed at the polling stations days before the referendum.

The interest of the referendum, Mr Awal noted, must be extended beyond the polling stations to the coalition center.

The referendum will be held under CI 109 on 27th December. Per the CI, if 79 % people vote yes at the end the referendum day it means No for the creation of the said new region.

Sixty percent (60%) of voter turnout is expected for the merger of regions, while 50% turn out is expected for the creation of the new region.

The NORSAAC Director told participants that if citizens’ active involvement is not taken seriously in the referendum process, it will mean that the country is throwing the 1992 constitution away or acting in full disregard of some provisions of the constitution. He pleaded with all interest groups to be active in the build up to the referendum because it matters to everyone.

The Lead researcher of the survey, Mr Mohammed Mahamoud urged the EC and government to take the concerns of the citizens into consideration before the December 27. The issue of security, Mr Mahamoud said tops all issues stakeholders.

He recommended to the Regional Coordinating Council, the Regional Security Council and the National Peace Council as well as the District Security Committee (DISECs) and Municipality Security Committee (MUSECs) to engage key stakeholders to find solutions to the concerns.

The survey also found out that there was low public education on the referendum or the referendum will record a low turnout.

Some citizens also want their transportation to be taken care of. The research was commissioned by NORSAAC with financial support from Star Ghana Foundation under the auspices of the EU, DANIDA and UK aid.

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