President Nana Akufo Addo has mounted a spirited defence of his administration’s move to create new regions saying it does not violate the 1992 constitution.
Moves by the government to create new Regions and altercate others have led to serious tensions in affected areas with some critics accusing the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration of breaching the constitution.
But speaking at a meeting with some chiefs from the Volta Region at the Jubilee House, President Akufo-Addo said government is going according to the dictates of the constitution.
“I would not be party to anything that attempts to subvert the constitution of Ghana. I fought all my life for constitutional rule in this country; and fIf I become president and I am the one undermining the constitution then I’m making a nonsense of myself. I wouldn’t do that. I don’t see this thing as having anything to do with ambitions, dislike or hostility, no. So Torgbui, through you and the senior chiefs that have come with you, I’m pleading with you, let the temperature on this matter come down,” he pleaded.
Processes are currently underway for the creation of six additional regions in the country following a recommendation by a commission of enquiry which handed its report to the president a few months ago.
The 19-member Commission after holding nationwide consultations urged government to create the administrative regions to be known as Oti, Ahafo, Brong East, Western North, North East and Savanna.
A referendum is expected to be held in the beneficiary areas before the new regions are created.
But some stakeholders in some of the areas especially from parts of the Volta Region are unhappy with the move.
Government and the Electoral Commission have already been slapped with two different suits over the issue.
President Nana Akufo-Addo engaged some Ghanaians in the US in September 2018 over plans to create the Oti Region.
They questioned why the referendum for the creation of the new regions is limited to only the beneficiary communities.
But Minister of Information designate, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah at a press conference said there is nothing wrong with limiting the referendum to only beneficiary communities saying that is what the constitution states.
“If you look at Article 5 (4) of our constitution, it spells out how the referendum should be done, and that is that. The commission of inquiry will determine whether or not there should be a referendum and the places where it should take place. This is consistent with how such matters have been handled in Ghana’s history. Whenever there’s been the need to do some more regions or merge some areas, this is how it has been done.”
He said in 1949, the people of Krachi voted to join the Volta Region and it wasn’t the entire region that voted.
“It was just the people of Krachi who participated in that referendum. In the 1956 plebiscite you recall that it was the people of the trans-volta Togoland who voted, not the entire Togo, they voted to join Ghana. This is how it’s been consistently done. This is what the 1992 constitution says and that is what the commission of inquiry recommended. There are stringent constitutional thresholds that ensure that unless there is an overwhelming demand by the people of these areas affected, these new regions cannot be created. There must be a 50% turnout and 80% yes vote,” he added.