Commission can’t exclude regions to be altered from voting - Togbe Afede
Togbe Afede XIV, Agbogbomefia of Asogli and President of the National House of Chiefs has said the Commission of inquiry into the creation of new regions had no power to exclude natives of regions which would be altered from voting in the referendum.
He said though the Commission was mandated to advise the President on what to be done, its recommendation ought to be in tune with guidelines in the 1992 Constitution.
Togbe Afede who was addressing a delegation of the Association of Ewe Chiefs said the Constitution specified clearly decisions that required referendum such as the creation of regions, alteration of boundaries of regions and merger of regions and that once the boundaries of Volta Region and other regions earmarked for the creation of new regions would be affected, all natives of those regions were to partake in the referendum.
He said it was not only disingenuous, but dangerous to cite “wrong examples” of Scotland, Eritrea, South Sudan, Trans Volta Togoland, and other distinct territories or countries in disregard to the 1992 Constitution.
Togbe Afede said “the use of these examples is creating a dangerous precedent, with implications for the survival of our country. Will Ghana allow any part of the country to vote alone to decide their independence, as was done for Scotland, Eritrea, South Sudan, Trans Volta Togoland, etc”
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He said people had deferent desires and opinions hence the need to use the Constitution “to weed the path through our diverse and conflicting desires and opinions.”
Togbe Afede said framers of the Constitution were conscious of the fact that certain situations may arose not clearly covered under the law, like the carving out of land for the creation of a new capital city, which would be of interest to all citizens and not only regions whose boundaries would be altered.
He chastised the Commission for not doing a good job and that it disregarded calls to extend hearing to other parts of affected regions, failed to specify issues to be determined by the referendum and the places, creating controversies.
“…the Commission was in haste to create new regions, but failed to do a thorough job, that would include specifying the issues to be determined. The concentration of its public hearings on the areas from which petitions were received, against all logic, betrayed an obsession to help fulfil a campaign promise,” Togbe Afede stated.
He therefore reiterated the call on government to ensure that due process was followed in the creation of new regions for peace, unity and development.
Togbe Dzogbede V, President of the Association of Ewe Chiefs said they were not happy about issues relating to the creation of new regions and appealed to government to listen to all sides of the debate and follow due process.