General News of Thursday, 29 November 2018
Following an outright dismissal of a writ challenging the creation of new regions in the country by the Supreme Court, Minister for Reorganisation and Development Dan Kwaku Botwe has outlined the timeline of actions for the process.
Addressing a room filled with journalists on Thursday, he disclosed that government had apportioned some GHS 20 million to the additional regions pending confirmation after the Electoral Commission had conducted the referendum.
Mr. Botwe explained that per the Supreme Court’s ruling Article 5 Clause 7 of the constitution spelt out that more than 60 per cent of registered voters in the regions where the proposed merger would take place must vote, while 80 per cent of the voters must vote in favour for the merger to happen.
On the other hand, it said, Article 5 Clause 6 stipulated that 50 per cent of the people entitled to vote in a referendum for the creation of new regions must vote, while 80 per cent of the voters must approve the creation of the new region.
“Article 5(6) states that “an issue referred for determination by referendum under clauses (4) and (5) shall not be taken to be determined by the referendum unless at least fifty percent of the persons entitled to vote cast their votes at the referendum, and of the votes cast at least eighty per cent were cast in favour of that issue”.
Should the results of the referendum be favourable for the creation of new regions, His Excellency, the President is enjoined by Article 5(8) of the 1992 Constitution to issue a CI giving effect or enabling effect to the results of the referendum for the creation of new regions.”
The Minister further noted that government had allotted GHS120 million for all the 6 regions but was subject to if the referendum returns a YES vote in all the six (6) proposed regions.
He also reiterated that the creation of the region was not a political agenda, noting that it was not the first time that the issue had been raised.
“There exists significant evidence that the demands for the creation of new regions were not made to His Excellency, the President alone, but also to other political leaders such as His Excellencies Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, John Agyekum Kufuor, John Evans Atta Mills and John Dramani Mahama. It is obvious that all the past Governments had also been seized with the matter over the years.
It is instructive to note that the 2016 Manifesto of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the main opposition party, contains a pledge to facilitate the creation of five (5) new regions had the NDC been successful at the 2016 elections.
The 2016 Manifesto of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the ruling party, pledged the creation of Western North Region out of the existing Western Region. This clearly demonstrates that there is meeting of minds of the two major parties on the issue of creating new administrative regions.” He revealed
Per the EC’s collaboration with the Ministry, Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice as well as the Parliamentary Select Committee on Subsidiary Legislation to finalize the CI (i.e CI 109 of 2018) for the conduct of referendum which was laid in Parliament on 30th October, will mature today 29th November and as a result the Commission are at liberty to proceed with their roadmap where 27th December, 2018 has been set for the conduct of the referendum.