Governance Think Thank, Imani Africa is strongly advocating for a more transparent system of creating and demarcating new districts. They want the process published at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and all constituency offices of the Electoral Commission.
It said if possible, there should be a cap on the number of constituencies and districts in Ghana. Imani Africa is also making a strong case that adjustments can be through re-demarcation instead of creating additional ones.
This recommendation were contained in a new report christened “Proliferation of New Districts and Constituencies in Ghana: The Mismatch between Policy Objectives, Outcomes and Impacts” launched recently in Accra.
Constance Ababio, a Research Assistant at Imani Africa who presented the report said the Electoral Commission should not be forced to create new constituencies when it does not meet the stipulated criteria to warrant a new constituency.
Districts that have grown beyond their required threshold, should be elevated to municipality and metropolitan status instead of splitting them.
The day-to-day operations of MPs according to her are not closely linked to that of the districts hence MPs should be granted membership of more than one district assemblies. The Research Assistant at Imani Africa proposed the discontinuation of the MPs Common Fund.
She said Government should consult a wide range of stakeholders, including local residents, governance and legal experts, and ministries, departments and agencies prior to creating districts and subsequently creating constituencies.
These perspectives, coupled with feasibility studies according to her should inform the creations and demarcations, rather than political biases. This, she noted, would lead to less resources being wasted and more financially viable districts which are not as reliant on District Assemblies Common Fund and government aid.
Ms. Ababio stated that a significant observation from the regression results was in contrast with the positive effect on development expected from decentralization. This, the Research Assistant of Imani Africa, said means there is no guarantee that creating smaller decentralized units would positively affect development or improve the delivery of services in a district.
The creation of districts, which is currently predominantly based on the increase in population according to her, should take into consideration a multidimensional approach with consideration to local revenue generation capabilities.
GhanaNewsOnline.com.gh has gathered that the objective of “Proliferation of New Districts and Constituencies in Ghana: The Mismatch Between Policy Objectives, Outcomes and Impacts” is to analyze the policy used by the Electoral Commission of Ghana in the creation of parliamentary constituencies which is often tied to new administrative districts created by the executive and the possibility for abuse of the system to favor a political party known as gerrymandering.
The report also set out analyse the relationship between the policy objectives and policy outcomes of the creation of new districts including to analyse the degree to which MPs’ representation in parliament of the new constituencies created out of new districts in 2004 aligned with their mandate, to ensure representation and to plug development shortfalls in their districts.
Source: Adovor Nutifafa