Yes, consensus on the election of municipal, metropolitan and district chief executives (MMDCEs) is with the people and not the politicians.
The political class should not think that they must have consensus and then see that as the basis for a referendum on the election of MMDCEs or otherwise.
This will amount to the politicians taking a decision that the people are supposed to take themselves and browbeating citizens to follow.
Political parties cannot go into conclave and discuss their partisan interests and see that as the required consensus needed for a referendum on the election of MMDCEs.
The verdict of the governed is the real gauge of consensus for the election or otherwise of MMDCEs and whether on political party basis or not.
The questions for the referendum —whether MMDCEs should be elected; and, whether they should be elected on partisan basis or not, should be left to the people to decide at the referendum.
It is not politicians who should meet and agree on an obvious referendum question. It appears they want to skip such a vital question at the referendum and then attempt to lure the citizens to come along with their “consensus”.
If that is not the intention of the politicians, why should any disagreement within and between them concerning how the MMDCEs should be elected be seen as a justification for a referendum to be put on hold.
The politicians must allow the people to decide the ‘how’ the MMDCEs should be elected. Consensus among the political class is not a prerequisite for a referendum on the election of MMDCEs.
It can only amount to manipulation of the citizenry for their political interest.
Sovereignty resides in the people and not political parties. The opinion of the governed is the sovereign consensus and not the opinion or consensus of the political class.
Citizens should no longer follow and allow politicians to accomplish their selfish interest. The experience has been that the politicians use the governed to realise their own interest instead of the nation’s and to ensure that the end justifies the means for themselves to the detriment of the citizens who are not well served.
This phenomenon has been the bane and shackle of our developmental agenda as a country. It seems the time is ripe to close up on this trajectory in our national life.
The politician must stop attempting to manipulate and decide the outcome of the referendum on the election of MMDCEs. They should allow the referendum to take place for the citizens to decide.
The consensus of politicians is not the required consensus but that of the people is. If the framers of the Constitution intended that, they would have said so.
The import of Articles 55 (3) and 243 (1) of the 1992 Constitution, which, respectively, debars political parties from taking part in district-level elections and empowers the President to appoint MMDCEs, should not be an issue for the politicians.
The outcome of the referendum on the election of MMDCEs and on how the election should happen will settle on whether these articles are entrenched or not.
Politicians must stop manipulating the citizenry to accept their plans and interests and just allow the referendum to take place in the interest of the people.