Politics of Saturday, 16 June 2012
Source: WBLS Radio London UK / wblsonline.com
Districts and constituencies must serve the needs to people not land- NPP Chairman
The Chairman of NPP UK Mr Hayford Atta-Krufi has stated that the recent decision by the Electoral Commission to create 45 new constituencies smacks of gerrymandering by the commission to support the motive of the NDC in the creation of new districts. He lamented over actions of both the NDC and EC in putting the cart ahead of the horse in total ignorance of the wishes of Ghanaians in their approach to the demarcation of the country. He was speaking on the programme NPP Hour on WBLS –online radio in London.
He said that the decision by the Ghana Statistical Services to withhold the population census for two years was a prelude to this collusion between the government and the Electoral Commission. He said even without knowing the population census as it had not been officially released the government, through the Ministry of Local Government went ahead with its plans to create new districts based on land mass and not the population per square mile. This was clearly illegal, he stated. “How can we create new districts ahead of knowing the population census?” he questioned
He stated further that the decision by the EC to respond to the new districts by creating new constituencies in line with the new districts shows clearly the collusion between the two, in the sense that the new constituencies are not also taking the voter population into account but rather the same land mass consideration of the Local Government ministry. “The minister’s intention of treating the EC like a puppet on a string is beginning to achieve its purpose” he lamented.
“In creating a district and for that matter constituency, the motive must be for development of the people of the area. Consideration must therefore be given to the population of the area being carved for that purpose. It is not about how bid the land is but how the creation can help create accessibility for the people in terms of resources. Districts and constituencies must therefore serve the needs of the people not the land mass” he emphasised. “In the recent biometric registration Ejisu Juaben recorded over 190,000 voter population. Kumawu recorded just over 50,000. Yet Kumawu constituency is going to be carved because they have a new district at the Afram Plains end of that constituency. Ejisu Juaben will still be one constituency. How fair is this? Land or people?”
It would be recalled that the final (yet provisional) population figures released showed how population has grown in certain districts and regions but the decision to create new districts have already been set in motion without regards to the rising population. The consideration rather has been given to how large the old districts are.
Questioned why the chairman, was concerned about the new constituencies and districts, Mr Atta-Krufi quipped “Whose interest is it going to serve? All political parties have held their primaries for their based on the existing 230 constituencies, it is less than 6 months to a general election, the biometric registration figures have not been finalised, and the EC is yet to put programmes in place to open the register for verification. Don’t you think they have enough on their place to be saddled with creation and demarcation of new constituencies?” “Have you considered the cost implications for the political parties in re-organising primaries again and the legal implications it will bring? It is sheer creation of confusion if this madness is allowed to happen. We will never be ready for the elections in December if all these unnecessary intrusions are allowed in our political calendar” he warned.
While agreeing with the EC to ensure that diplomats and our service personnel serving abroad must not be disenfranchised, he questioned the decision by Mr Afari Gyan to put students on government scholarship abroad in the same category as diplomats. “Clearly they are private citizens who have gone abroad on scholarships; they are not diplomats or service personnel. They applied for the scholarships and won them. We did not send them abroad and they do not serve the nation’s interest in any way. It is therefore their civic responsibility like any Ghanaian abroad to go home to register to vote within the window given to all Ghanaians. It is therefore wrong and illegal to open special window for them. If that is the case then the EC must operationalise ROPAA in that process and all Ghanaians abroad who did not come home to register must be given the same opportunity to register.” He concluded.
Source: WBLS Radio London UK / wblsonline.com