17
Mon, Dec
19 New Articles

MAHAMA IN WONDERLAND: DEPUTY MINISTER MOCKS EX-PRESIDENT’S “OPENNESS” TO OTI REGION

Politics

The Deputy Minister for Regional Reorganisation, Martin Adjei Mensah-Korsah, has expressed surprise at recent comments by former President Mahama to chiefs and people in the northern part of the Volta Region that their long-running agitation for a new Oti Region will be considered during his “next term” in office.

The Deputy Minister for Regional Reorganisation, Martin Adjei Mensah-Korsah, has expressed surprise at recent comments by former President Mahama to chiefs and people in the northern part of the Volta Region that their long-running agitation for a new Oti Region will be considered during his “next term” in office.

 

Mr Mensah-Korsah, in an interview with the Daily Statesman, said the former President’s comments betrayed a lack of knowledge. It seems Mr Mahama is not abreast of issues in Ghana, he said, especially in respect of the petitions served on the government to advocate creation of the regions.

“I find it strange and cannot understand why anybody could have got it wrong, especially given all the processes that have gone on,” Mr Mensah-Korsah said.

Mahama’s comeback

Ex-President John Dramani Mahama has been blowing hot and cold over initiatives undertaken by the Akufo-Addo government, including the Free SHS programme and revival of the National Health Insurance Scheme.

According to media reports, after meeting chiefs and people in the northern part of the Volta Region during his recent “2020 campaign” tour, he assured them that if the National Democratic Congress chooses him to lead it into the next election and he becomes President again, his new government will consider the creation of the Oti Region.

“It is possible to create a new region out of the Volta Region,” he told ecstatic residents of Jasikan, one of the areas agitating for the creation of Oti.

Mr Mahama however said that all moves to create the region would have to go through the constitutional process, which he will activate when he returns to power.

He therefore urged the people to vote for the NDC on December 7, 2020 in order to make his promise a reality.

December 27, 2018

But Mr Mensah-Korsah said he finds it surprising that the former President is not aware of the processes behind the development.

“As far as we are concerned, a petition has been received by His Excellency the President and that petition, among others, was forwarded to the Council of State, and the Council of State returned the petition that there was every merit and need for the region, so the President should go ahead,” he explained.

The President subsequently set up a commission of inquiry, Mr Mensah-Korsah said, which received all six petitions, including the one for Oti Region.

“The commission of inquiry has toured the necessary areas … in the Volta Region and in respect of Oti Region. The result of that is captured in the commission’s report submitted to His Excellency the President, which the President has forwarded to the Electoral Commission for a referendum to be done,” the Deputy Minister said.

He disclosed that a limited registration exercise had taken place as part of the Electoral Commission’s preparations towards the referendum, which is scheduled to take place on December 27 this year.

Injunction

The Supreme Court is poised to hear a suit challenging the constitutionality of the December 27 referendum.

A group, Strategic Thinkers Network Africa (STRATNET), maintains that limiting the referendum to areas that fall within the proposed regions is arbitrary and improper.

The group is represented in court by Godwin Edudzi Kudzo Tamakloe. Members say because Ghana is a unitary state governed by one central government, the entire region must determine whether it wants to be divided.

The plaintiff, Gideon Tettey of STRATNET, maintains that the vote has implications for those living outside the areas proposed for the new regions and therefore every registered voter in the regions affected must have a say.

If the referendum is about creating a new state or country, the group says, then only those living within the proposed areas could be allowed to vote. But what the government is about to do is to create mere administrative regions, the group argues.

The suit states that the “discernible spirit” of Articles 4 and 5 of the 1992 constitution is that, as a unitary state, there can be no division of a region through a referendum without the registered voters in the region having a say.

One man dancing

Ghana is now set to hold its second referendum since 1992. The exercise could add six administrative regions to the existing ten.

The new regions would be known as Oti, Ahafo, Brong East, Western North, North-East and Savannah.

Apparently confused about this crucial national conversation, Mr Mahama has been dancing to a tune only he can hear, one of his own style and arrangement, and drawing NDC communicators into the crossfire of noisemaking since he lost Election 2016.