EC to hold referendum for creation of 6 new regions on Dec 7

Mr Dan Botwe,Minister of Regional Reorganization and Development

Mr Dan Botwe,Minister of Regional Reorganization and Development

All is set for the Electoral Commission (EC) to go ahead with the organisation of a referendum on December 27, to determine the creation of the six additional administrative regions in the country.

This follows the dismissal of the suit challenging the constitutionality or otherwise of the government’s decision to create new administrative regions in some part of the country.

The referendum will be conducted in only 47 districts, all of which fall within areas from which petitions for the creation of the regions were received.

Addressing a news conference in Accra yesterday to update the media on development in connection with the processes leading to creation of the new regions, the Minister of Regional Reorganisation and Development (MRRD), Mr Dan Kweku Botwe said the ruling by the Supreme Court laid to rest the legal issues surrounding the exercise.

He said it was important for Ghanaians to be made aware that even though the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) made the promise to create new regions, the processes leading to the creation is not left for the parties to decide.

Mr Botwe explained that the process was already determined in the Constitution, stressing that “Article 54 states that “when a commission of enquiry appointed under clause 2 and 3 of this article, finds that there is a substantial demand for the creation, alteration or merger referred to in either of those clauses, it shall recommend to the President that a referendum be held specifying the issues to be determined by the referendum and the places where the referendum should be held.”

He said following the receipt of petitions from six groups, he forwarded those petitions to the Council of State and based on the advise of the Council, proceeded to constitute the Commission of Enquiry who commenced work and submitted their report to the President on June 26 this year.

Mr Botwe explained that even though the commission was supposed to have submitted their report after six months, they requested for two additional months which were granted.

Having submitted their report to the President subsequently submitted it to the EC which is now in the process of conducting the referendum.

According to the minister, government had no position on the creation of the regions and that success or otherwise of the creation of the regions did not constitute failure of government.

He said per the constitutional arrangements, it was possible that some regions may either not be created or created depending on the outcome of how the people in those areas turn up and vote in the referendum.

Mr Botwe said it was erroneous for some people to say they were not consulted in the process since the various Regional Houses of Chiefs and members of parliament from the affected regions were all consulted.

He said government was not spending any money in terms of campaigning for people to vote for or against the creation of the new regions, however, it had budgeted an amount of GH¢20million each to serve as seed funds for those that get to satisfy the constitutional requirements to become regions on their own.

By Cliff Ekuful

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