The Ministry of Regional Reorganisation and Development, has denied assertions that the plan to create new regions are borne out of a desire to gain political advantage in those areas.
Suggestions have been made by sections of the public and members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), that the attempt to split up traditional strongholds of the party in elections like the Volta and Northern Region, was part of efforts to weaken the NDC’s influence there.
However, speaking on Eyewitness News on Friday, the Deputy Minister for Regional Re-organisation and Development, Martin Adjei-Mensah Korsah, dismissed these claims, insisting that the move to split up the regions was not politically motivated.
“Electorally, it does not matter where a person votes, they can vote in the Volta Region or the Northern Region, your votes counts equally for whichever candidate or party. You’ll not necessarily have to divide a region to make an impact electorally. If the people decide to vote one way ,[it won’t change]. Thankfully that is not the objective,” he said.
He added that, despite only promising to create one new region in their manifesto prior to the elections, then candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had been presented with requests from several other regions for similar treatment should the New Patriotic Party win power.
“We indicated in our manifesto that we would create Western North Region, that was the only one we talked about. After the release of our manifesto, when Nana Addo went around the country, the people made demands for the regions to be created. The law does not stop anyone from making those demands, and when we won power, the petitions were thrown at him. It’s not NPP inspired,” he claimed.
Martin Adjei-Mensah Korsah also brushed aside claims that the Ashanti Region, which is a stronghold of the governing party had been shielded, stating that no petition had been received for the creation of a new region.
He however, revealed that, the creation of a new region from Brong Ahafo could affect sections of the Ashanti Region, as the two share a border.
“We received two petitions from the Northern Region to create two new regions, two petitions from the Brong Ahafo region and one petition each from the Volta Region and Western Region. There were no petitions from the other regions. If you look at the demand for the creation of the regions, it has almost included a section of the Ashanti Region which is in the Ahafo area, so that’s how the Ashanti Region may be affected should the Commission uphold the demands,“ he explained.
Commission of Enquiry for new regions inaugurated
The President, earlier this week inaugurated a nine-member Commission of Enquiry to oversee the processes and report back in six months.
According to the deputy Minister, it was not a certainty that all the proposed new regions will be created as the people living would first have to approve it via a referendum.
“Leading minds around this project will argue that for proper decentralization, you need to have 20 administrative regions. The beautiful thing is that, for those who agree or disagree, the decision will go back to the people. When the Commission brings back their report, we’ll head to a referendum where 50 percent of the people must vote, and 80 percent of them must approve it. You can’t force it, it’s not the government deciding that it has to be.”
By; Edwin Kwakofi/citifmonline.com/Ghana