CJ to empanel tribunal to hear concerns of Lolobi, Akpafu

The Chief Justice (CJ) is to empanel a tribunal to hear the concerns of Lolobi and Akpafu traditional areas, in the newly created Oti Region, who are challenging the decision to place the communities under Jasikan District.

Nana Akoto Masakyi III, the Paramount Chief of Lolobi Traditional Area and Nana Tetteh-Attu IV, the Adontehene, and Acting Paramount Chief of Akpafu Traditional Area had dragged the Electoral Commission (EC) to the Supreme Court (SC) for removing them from the Hohoe municipality in the Volta Region.

At proceedings yesterday, the Chief Justice Anin Yeboah, asked counsel for the applicants, Mr Martin Kpebu to petition him the (CJ) so that the matter could be sent to the appropriate forum.

The traditional leaders said the decision by the EC to place them in the newly created Jasikan District was in bad faith, since the people of Lolobi and Akpafu did not petition the President, neither did they ask the Justice Brobey Commission to include the two areas in the Oti Region. 

A statement of claim accompanied by a number of declarations, said that the chiefs and people of Akpafu had consistently maintained since 1945 that they did not want to be part of the Jasikan/Buem District, Constituency or the Oti Region.

Their counsel, Mr Kpebu contended that the duties and powers of the EC does not include the power to create districts. 

The plaintiffs stated that the defendant had laid before Parliament a constitutional instrument  under the caption, “District Electoral Areas and Designation  of Units Regulations, 2019” in which it seeks to demarcate electoral boundaries pursuant to its powers under paragraph (b) of article 45 and article  51 of the 1992 Constitution. 

It is the case of the plaintiffs that in the said instrument, the defendant has unlawfully deleted Lolobi and Akpafu from the Hohoe Municipality and placed them under a newly created Jasikan District, contrary to article 241(2) of the 1992 Constitution and sections 1(2) and (3) of the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936).

On January 29, 2018, the plaintiffs averred that the Paramount Chief of Lolobi Traditional Area presented a “Technical Report” and other documents to the Justice Brobey Commission at the Osu Castle and the Commission duly acknowledged receipt.

Again on March 16, 2016, the plaintiffs stated Nana Kofi Adu II, a sub-Divisional Chief of Akpafu Todzi, wrote to the Brobey Commission on behalf of the two traditional areas, through the office of the President, Jubilee House, Accra, to request that Akpafu and Lolobi areas be excluded from the proposed Oti Region.

They said on October 17, 2018, when a Joint Steering Committee from Lolobi and Akpafu met the chairperson of the EC, Mrs Jean Mensa, to demand answers as to why the two communities had been designated to participate in a scheduled referendum regarding the proposed Oti Region, the chairperson responded that her hands were tied, but advised them to petition the President and Minister of Regional Reorganisation and Development, which they did.

The Plaintiffs said in spite of this, the defendant went ahead to organise elections (referendum) in the affected traditional areas, which election recorded an abysmal 11 per cent turnout, way below the constitutionally mandated minimum 50 per cent turnout.

The plaintiffs asked for a declaration that the defendant has no power to create a district in Ghana.

They urged the apex court to say that the inclusion of Lolobi and Akpafu communities under the Jasikan District of the Oti Region is in violation of article 241(2) of the 1992 Constitution.

The traditional leaders asked the court for a perpetual injunction restraining the defendant from forcibly removing Lolobi and Akpafu Traditional areas from the Hohoe municipality. 

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