Politics of Tuesday, 18 September 2012
Dr. Dan Bright-Dzorgbo, a Sociologists and Head of Sociology Department at the University of Ghana (UG), has advised religious leaders to desist from wading into political issues, citing specifically the current debate on the constitutionality and merit of the creation of the new 45 constituencies.
He observed that the current controversy was mainly a constitutional matter, which must be decided by the Supreme Court and not the religious leaders stressing that “When society seems to be highly religious, religious leaders turn to speak on societal matters which should not be the case”, he said.
Dr. Bright-Dzorgbo was speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview on the current political situation in the country.
The proposed constituencies if accepted will increase the country’s constituencies from 230 to 275. A Constitutional Instrument (CI) 78 had already been laid before Parliament while a ruling on the matter is pending before the Supreme Court.
Dr. Bright-Dzorgbo noted that the religious leaders might have taken advantage of the pluralistic believes of Ghanaians on religion as the basis to wade into politics, but cautioned that it was wrong in the modern era for politics to be decided on religious basis, “Politics is a scientific exercise…religion do not have the solution to this problem”, he stated.
Touching on the rationality of the proposed constituencies, he noted that the Electoral Commission (EC) must be allowed to also carry out its mandate, adding that ‘when there are more constituencies, it improves development’.
Dr. Dan-Dzorgbo also observed that the ruling government was likely to benefit from the proposed constituencies through psychological satisfaction it would get from the citizenry, which he said, was likely to be translated into votes, adding that the government might want to have more votes and therefore eager to have the constituencies.
He said even though the constituencies were a merit to the state, the timing was questionable, stressing that there was no need for the country to put a ceiling on the number of constituencies that were to be created at any particular time.
Mr. Shaibu Mahama, a Lawyer and a Consultant to the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), who also spoke with the GNA, expressed optimism that the proposed constituencies would be operational and implementable in the coming 2012 elections.
He explained that the Constitutional Instrument (CI) 78 that had been laid in Parliament would become legalized after 21 Parliamentary sitting days which was likely to occur in October stressing that unless the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Government complained of logistical constraints otherwise, the law would be implemented in 2012.
Mr. Mahama said it was a constitutional right of everyone to be represented fairly in Parliament so that their concerns could be articulated and addressed properly.
He said it would be problematic for the new districts that had been created already to continue to operate without Members of Parliament to occupy them because those districts would not get the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) since each district was entitled to it only through an MP.
He said the Local Government Act 462 and the District Assembly Common Fund Act 455, were clear on the fact that it was through the MP that the DACF was disburse to all districts to be used for developmental projects.
Lawyer Mahama therefore observed that the CI 78 would become a law and implemented to serve those purposes stressing that one MP could not preside over two common funds but the reverse where two MPs were in one district was possible.