EC to proceed with creation of regions plan despite suits

Source: Ghana| Myjoyonline.com | Naa Sakwaba Akwa | E: faustine.akwa@myjoyonline.com

The Electoral Commission (EC) says it will go ahead with planned activities towards the creation of the proposed six regions despite two separate suits seeking to stop the process.

A non-governmental organisation, Strategic Thinkers Network-Africa (Stranek) has sued government and the EC on the decision to conduct a referendum in only the six regions in which the new regions will be created.

The group wants the Supreme Court to interpret portions of the 1992 Constitution with respect to holding a referendum in the country.

The applicant is seeking a declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution, particularly articles 4(1), 5(1), 5(2), 5(3), 5(4) and 5(7) of the 1992 Constitution, read conjointly, the recommendation by the Justice Alan Brobbey Commission of Enquiry on the Creation of New Regions to the effect that only the registered voters in the yet to be created region are entitled to vote at the referendum to be conducted by the EC was unconstitutional, null and void.

Three other individuals, Mayor Agblexe, Destiny Awlimey, and Jean-Claude Koku Amenyaoglo are also challenging the creation of the new regions.

They are raising issues with the limitation of voting in the referendum to only registered voters in the areas of the new regions.

They want clarity on whether the referendum for the new regions “must take place in and involve inhabitants of the whole region or alternatively or whether every resident of a region that is to be altered is entitled to be registered and allowed to vote in such a referendum in accordance with Article 42 of the Constitution of Ghana, 1992.”

But the EC Chair Jean Mensa at a press briefing Friday said the suits did not constitute injunctions.

“With regard to the suit, it was delivered yesterday but was not with an application and therefore it cannot be held to be binding an effective injunction on the Commission. That is why we are going ahead with the limited registration exercise as planned,” she said.

In a response to a question about the cost of the exercise, Mrs Mensa said the Commission has taken seriously recent criticisms on the cost of elections in the country and will use the taxpayers money in the most prudent manner.

The EC boss was, however, unable to provide the cost of the exercise but assured that “we will make this available in due course.

“We will put it on our website and inform you about how much it really cost to conduct the referendum,” she added.

Addressing the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) request for another Inter-party Advisory Committee meeting to discuss issues concerning the referendum after the party missed out on it some weeks ago, Mrs Mensa said the EC has received their complaint and is in talks concerning a way forward.

“We have responded to their letter and we are indeed planning a meeting with them to discuss some of these matters and we believe that we will be able to arrive at a cordial settlement.”

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