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Opinions of Sunday, 24 June 2012

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Is the Creation of the 45 New Constituencies Dubious?

Is the Creation of the 45 New Constituencies by Dr Afari Gyan very Dubious?

I have personally not had sufficient time to study in-depth the reasons adduced by the Electoral Commissioner, Mr Afari Gyan, for the creation of the additional forty-five constituencies in Ghana. The Constitution of Ghana confers on the Electoral Commissioner the authority and right to create new constituencies every seven years or after the publication of the results of any undertaken population census exercise, depending on the intensity of the population concentration.

As firm, fair and friendly as I have always been and will continue to be, I will hit the nail right in the head of the drum without wasting time beating about the sides of the drum. I would like Mr Afari Gyan to understand that the results of the 2010 population census had neither been disclosed nor published when he created the said new constituencies. He initially said he was going to create about twenty-two new constituencies after creating forty-two new districts. All of a sudden, he came out to announce he has created additional 45 constituencies.

I challenge Mr Afari Gyan to come out cleaner as presently I see him awash in dirt. A thick dark cloud of doubt is hovering over his integrity when you take a bit of time to analyse the dubiety surrounding the creation of the new constituencies. When the creation of the constituencies had not been made official, he had already assigned new electoral codes for those areas of which, only the NDC were aware. I discovered this during the biometric voter registration exercise. Intending NDC parliamentary aspirants took their families to the then secretly created new constituencies to register and have since started visiting the constituents with messages intended for winning their votes. This mischievous plan initiated by Mr Afari Gyan has given the NDC a step or more, ahead of their other political opponents.

Mr Afari Gyan is telling me he has the Constitutional right to create new constituencies every seven years or whatever so he will avail himself of that right as and when he decides. Yes, he can do as prescribed by the Constitution but to be more sensible, he should be guided by other playing factors. Do we have sufficient room in parliament house to accommodate the additional “I concur” but often utterly useless, excuse my French, MPs? Alternatively, is a bigger new parliament house built or being built elsewhere to house all future additional MPs coming from future constituencies? Do we have sufficient funds to pay the salaries, per diem and other emoluments of all the additional MPs without saddling Ghana with untold financial constraints? Apostle Paul says at 1 Corinthians 10:23 “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” I pray Mr Afari Gyan to see far beyond the tip of his intellectual nose or pair of spectacles to judge for himself the sense or the senselessness in his action.

The timing of the creation of the new constituencies is as questionable as it is wrong. It is just six months or less to Election Day and he comes out with new constituencies. How do the parties organise their primaries which are quite expensive exercise? For example those that have already gone to party primaries and been elected to compete for the parliamentary seats on their party tickets but suddenly confronted with the division of their constituencies into two, what do they do? In which of the two constituencies are they candidates? A vivid case is the Kumawu Sekyere Afram Plains Constituency. The DCE, Hon Asiamah, won on the NDC ticket to contest former DCE Hon Basoah who is on the NPP ticket. Mr Asiamah hails from the Afram Plains area of the then Kumawu Sekyere Afram Plains Constituency. With the current division of the Kumawu Sekyere Afram Plains Constituency into two – Kumawu Sekyere Constituency and Sekyere Afram Plains Constituency- in which of these two constituencies are the both mentioned persons credible contesting candidates? This is the reason why the Electoral Commissioner, Mr Afari Gyan should have made the creation of the new constituencies well known long before to avoid the type of problematic situation just mentioned above.

Mr Afari Gyan in my estimation has not applied the Constitutional right bestowed on him relating to the creation of new constituencies properly, this particular time. I understand the entire Kumawu Sekyere Afram Plains Constituency has a voter registration of Fifty thousand (150,000) whilst Juaben-Ejisu has One hundred and ninety thousand (190,000). Although voter concentration in constituencies cannot translate into population concentration in constituencies to justify why or not one constituency can be divided into two but not the other as it is in the two cases just raised. Kumawu Sekyere Afram Plains may have a bigger actual population concentration than the Juaben-Ejisu Constituency when al l minors are considered. Nevertheless, Juaben-Ejisu Constituency has a population concentration exceedingly bigger than the Kumawu Sekyere Afram Plains Constituency. I am the son of both soils so I know this for a fact.

I do not want to reveal the details behind the division of the Kumawu Sekyere Afram Plains Constituency into two. It was all for a good reason but it goes to defeat any assigned reason offered by Mr Afari Gyan and his Commission.

The Constitution allows for the creation of Constituencies based on land mass and population concentration with greater emphasis on population concentration. Mr Afari Gyan should explain to me on what cardinal criterion he based his creation of the constituencies. His intentions are not clear enough to me. His explanations do not sound reasonable in intellectual ears. I can challenge him on any platform to prove him wrong. I smell rat. I support all those challenging him in the courts. He is a gentleman but he has unfortunately compromised his credibility this time around.

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Rockson Adofo