Prof Gatsi: Suspension of Referendum Will Send Wrong Signal to Foreign Investors

Prof John Gatsi. renowned economist at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana

Accra, Ghana, December 2, 2019//-A renowned Ghanaian economist, Professor John Gatsi says the suspension of the 17 December referendum will  send wrong signal to foreign  investors.

He made this known immediately after Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo suspended the referendum in a live TV broadcast to the nation.

Prof Gatsi who is also the Dean of School Business at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) maintained: “The signal sent by the withdrawal or suspension can skew inward investment decisions by foreign investors”.

It has huge implications for 2020 economic management and election expectations, he stated.

Prof Gatsi stated: “Perhaps, we now know that when elections are near, expressions and statements by voters trigger a “shivering sound of earthquake in mountainous regions.”

He also raised concerns with the suspension of the referendum which majority say the government was going to lose in its YES vote.

“While l do not want to deal with whether or not it is appropriate to suspend the referendum, since different jurisprudential schools of thought will answer this question differently.

Fetching from the well of value for money (causing financial loss to the state), procurement challenges and an obvious fear for 2020 election, it is certain that the effect of the President’s decision to abort the referendum will trigger constitutional interpretations; especially, questions on whether the will of the people before an election should be left in the hands of voters or tele-guided to offend mutually exclusive principles that underpin an election”.

The reasons given will further trigger the following questions:

  1. If it is very clear on the lips of Ghanaians to vote in a particular direction, will election 2020 be held?
  2. Given that the government was for YES vote, is the government the winner in this case?
  3. To achieve consensus before setting the tone for an election is cannot be guaranteed. Is it not such consensus we are testing through an election (referendum) such that a win for yes will mean majority wants an amendment to Article 55(3)?

Same consensus would have been expressed in the outcome of the referendum with a stricter rule than the usual 50%+1 majority decision.

  1. Should the issue raised by the President about consensus be taken seriously? Politicians know that even a minute to an election, voters do change their direction of voting, he argued.

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