SC dismisses writ on creation of new regions

The Supreme Court (SC), yesterday dismissed writ challenging the government’s decision to create new administrative regions in some parts of the country.

 

According to the plaintiffs, Mayor Agbleze, Destiny Awilemy and Jean-Claude Koku Amenyaoglo, the recommendation by the Commission of Inquiry, chaired by Mr. Justice S.A Brobbey, for the creation of new regions out of existing regions through a referendum to be held “only in the areas where there was substantial need and demand for the creation of new region, is unconstitutional, null and void as a result”.

 

However the seven-member panel of judges presided by Mrs. Justice Sophia Adinyira, held that the plaintiffs did not properly invoke the jurisdiction of the apex court hence the dismissal of the writ.

 

Mrs Justice Sophia Adinyira said, “It is the unanimous decision by this court that the provisions of Article 5 of the constitution, 1992 are clear and contain no ambiguity. We, therefore, hold that our jurisdiction under Article 2(1) and 130(1) (a) of the constitution has not been properly invoked by the plaintiffs in this case”.

 

She stated that the court did not say the writ was useless, rather the plaintiffs had wrongly invoked its (court) jurisdiction, and stressed the judgement would settle all the agitations as well as the commentaries in the media.

 

Reading the entire judgement as instructed, Professor Justice Nii A. Kotei said that the three persons (plaintiffs) who filed the writ were not happy with the discretionary power given the Justice Brobbey Commission of Inquiry to determine where the referendum should be held, thus, compelling them (plaintiffs) to sue the Attorney-General and the Electoral Commission by invoking the jurisdiction of the court for some constitutional interpretation.

 

He said that upon thorough examination of the matter, it was realised that the provisions of Article 5 of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution were clear and contained no ambiguities as such there was no need for any constitutional interpretation.

 

Other judges were Messrs Justice Jones Dotse, Justice Anin Yeboah, Justice Samuel K. Marful-Sau, Mrs Justice Vida Akoto Bamfo and Mr Justice Nene Amegatcher.

 

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was advised by the Council of State on August 15, 2017, to appoint a commission of enquiry to inquire into the need and to make recommendations on all the factors involved in the creation of new regions.

The commission was accordingly established pursuant to constitutional instrument, C.I. 105 and commenced work on November 21, 2017.

 

On June 27, 2018, the Justice Brobbey Commission presented its report to President Akufo-Addo and recommended the creation of six new administrative regions to be carved out of four existing regions namely, the Western, Northern, Brong-Ahafo and Volta regions.

 

The six proposed regions are Oti, Ahafo, Brong East, Western North, North East and Savannah,

and pursuant to Article 5 (4) of the Constitution, 1992, the Commission recommended to the President that the places where the referendum should be held be limited to the proposed new regions to the exclusion of all.

 

The recommendations were forwarded to the Electoral Commission (EC) by President Akufo-Addo, pursuant to Article 5 (5) of the constitution, 1992, for the referendum to be held in a manner prescribed by the E.C.

 

This did not go down well with Mr. Mayor Agbleze, Mr. Destiny Awlimey and Mr. Jean-Claude Koku Amenyaoglo who filed  a writ on September 12, 2018, at the Supreme Court on the grounds that the  government’s action or decision was unconstitutional and should be declared null, void and of no effect.

By Castrol Zangina-Tong                      

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