Gov’t Won’t Campaign in New Regions Referendum

Government has said, it won’t campaign in the upcoming referendum for the creation of six new regions in the country.

“The government is not part of the campaign, the government will not invest money to campaign for people to vote YES or No,” Regional Reorganisation Minister, Daniel Kwaku Botwe stressed on Adom FM’s ‘Burning Issues’ programme Wednesday.

According to Daniel Kwaku Botwe, the power to determine the creation of the region is entirely in the hands of residents in the areas demanding the re-demarcations.

The Electoral Commission which is organising the referendum received a boost following the green light it received from the Supreme Court to hold the referendum after it threw out a legal challenge.

The applicants at the apex court had wanted the EC allow all residents living in a region earmarked for re-demarcation to participate in the referendum to possibly split it.

The EC’s position was that only those living within the areas proposed to form the new region should be allowed to vote.

So for example not every voter in the Volta Region is allowed to vote even though the proposed Oti Region could be carved out of it.

Only those living in the 11 municipalities, districts and towns earmarked to form the proposed new region should be allowed to vote.

Not everybody is enthused by the government’s road map for the creation of the new regions which could bring to 16, Ghana’s administrative regions.

Hundreds in the Volta region marched in March 2018 against the division of Volta region to create the proposed Oti region.

They have rejected the claim that the division will accelerate stalled development in the new regions. The opponents have demanded decentralisation, which is government giving more political power to metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to forster development.

Some opponents also smell mischief from the Akufo-Addo government which has repeatedly said it is only respecting the wishes of the people as the New Patriotic Party (NPP) gathered during the 2016 elections.

Dan Botwe has stressed, government has no position on the matter of new region creation. It only has obligations to constitutionally mandated bodies like the Electoral Commission (EC), the Information Service Department (ISD).

“Government will only facilitate and finance the education campaigns by the constitutionally mandated bodies,” the Minister told Show host, Afia Pokua.

The last legal hurdle on the creation of new regions has also been surmounted, the Minister noted explaining, the Constitutional Instrument (CI 109) for the new regions will mature Thursday, November 29, 2018.

The maturation of the CI laid in Parliament is expected to pave the way for the EC to go ahead with the vote.

Two new regions, the proposed Savanna and North East regions could be carved out of the Northern region. While in the Brong Ahafo region, two more regions – Ahafo and Brong East regions – could emerge.

In the Western region, nine districts could be taken out to form the new Western North region.

The regions will be formed if there is at least 40% turn-out in the proposed areas and 80% of the turn-out vote ‘Yes’.

The referendum is slated December 27.

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