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…Over Misplaced Citizens
The Honourable Member of Parliament (MP) for Hohoe, Hon. Dr. Bernice Adiku Heloo has threatened to drag government to Court over the plight of some communities in the Volta Region, after the creation of the Oti Region from the Volta Region.
According to her, communities such as Santrokofi, Akpafu, Lolobi and Likpe Traditional Areas have been left in limbo after the creation of the Oti Region, and not knowing exactly where they belong, i.e either still in the Volta Region or the Oti Region.
This came to light last Thursday, April 4, 2019 when the MP posed a question to the Minister for Regional Re-organization and Development, Dan Botwe, wanting to know where these communities fall under Ghana’s new administration sub-division.
The Minister stated that, the processes for the creation of new regions are governed by Article 5 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
Article 5.2, he said states that “If the President, upon petition being presented to him and, on the advice of the Council of State, is satisfied that there is a substantial demand for
- The creation of a new region;
- The alteration of the boundaries of a region, whether or not the alteration involves the creation of a new region; or
- The merger of any two or more regions;
He shall, acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State, appoint a commission of inquiry to inquire into the demand and to make recommendations on all the factors involved in the creation, alteration or merger”.
Article 5.3, the minister maintained, states that “Where a commission of inquiry appointed under clause (2) or (3) or this article is satisfied that there is the need and a substantial demand for the creation, alteration or merger referred to in either of those clauses, it shall recommend to the President that a referendum be held specifying the issues to be determined by the referendum and the places where the referendum should be held”.
He said, in line with the Constitutional provisions, the Justice Brobbey Commission of Inquiry into the Creation of New Regions was set up the His Excellency the President upon the advice by the Council of State to inquire into the need for the creation of new regions. In the case of the petition received from the Chiefs and people of the proposed Oti region, the Commissions recommended the following places where the referendum was to be held in respect of the then proposed Oti Region:
- Jasikan District
- Kadjebi District
- Biokoye District
- Krachi East Municipality
- Krachi Nchumuru District
- Krachi West District
- Nkwanta South Municipality
- Nkwanta North District
- Santrokofi, Akpafu, Lolobi and Likpe Traditional Areas.
He pointed out that, the C.I. 109 of 2019: Referendum (Creation of New Regions Regulations, 2019) also referred to the places recommended by Justice Brobbey Commission as per its First Schedule (copy attached). This Constitutional Instrument was in line with Article 5.5 of the Constitution which states that The President shall refer the recommendations to the Electoral Commission, and the referendum shall be held in a manner prescribed by the Electoral Commission may prescribe.
He said that in pursuant to C.I. 109, the Electoral Commission (E.C) conducted a referendum on 27th December, 2018 in the places or areas including Santrokofi, Akpafu, Lolobi and Likpe Traditional Areas and the eight (8) Districts participated in the referendum and recorded 88.33% voter turnout and 98.64% ‘YES’ votes (copy of gazette results attached).
With the creation of the Oti Region and the presentation of the C.I 112 to the chiefs and people of the Oti Region on 15th February, 2019, the Santrokofi, Akpafu, Lolobi and Likpe Traditional Areas currently fall under Oti Region.
According to him, the mandate of the Ministry of Regional Reorganization and Development was to facilitate the creation of new regions and their development.
In this regard, issues relating to administrative subdivisions are not part of the mandate of the Ministry.
Later, when newsmen approached the MP she expressed her dissatisfaction with the minister’s answer and vowed to drag the government to court for leaving people in these communities in abeyance and not knowing exactly where they belong by way of region and constituency.
Hon. Heloo argued that people have the right to belong to a region and a constituency. However, as the creation of the new region stands now, not only are the people confused but herself as MP. This is because the people are appealing to hear for assistance and attention. However, as the division remains, she cannot see herself as their MP.
She pointed out that because the people were not happy in the creation of the Oti Region, they did not vote in the referendum of December 27 2018. All the same, since government was poised on creating the Region, it disregarded the people’s concern and went ahead.
This situation, she indicated, had brought about a lot of constitutional breaches because the government failed to do this homework well before the creation of the Region. Asked which ministry she would drag to court, Hon. Heloo stated that it is the Ministry for Regional Reorganization and Development, as well as the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGR). She hinted that plans are underway for this court action.
Source: S.O. Ankamah