EC To Go Ahead With New Regions

Jean Mensa, EC Boss

The Electoral Commission (EC) has downplayed lawsuits filed against it in the creation of the six new regions, saying it would carry out the limited voter registration from Sunday, September 16 to Tuesday, September 25 ahead of the December referendum.

The December 2018 referendum is on the creation of new regions which the lawsuits are trying to stop.

According to the Chairperson of the EC, Jean Mensa, the registration would be carried out despite the two lawsuits against the Commission on the same matter.

Addressing the media yesterday, the EC boss indicated the Commission’s preparedness for the exercise, adding that it would be carried out in some 47 districts that would be affected by the creation of the new regions.

“With regard to the suit, the service of the writ of summons on us was delivered yesterday [Thursday], but it was not with an implication and therefore it cannot be held binding an effective injunction on the commission. And that is why we are going ahead with the limited registration exercise as planned,” she added.

The lawsuits were initiated by a group calling itself Strategic Thinkers Network-Africa aligned to the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Three persons- Mayor Agblexe, Destiny Awlimey and Jean-Claude Koku Amenyaoglo- have dragged the Electoral Commission and the Attorney General to the Supreme Court in two separate suits.

The Commission is putting measures in place to hold a referendum in parts of the country following recommendations the Justice Brobbey Commission made to government to create six new regions.

The Commission, after holding nationwide consultations, urged government to create Oti, Ahafo, Brong East, Western North, North East and Savanna regions from four regions of the country.

The EC, at its recent Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting, approved a roadmap for organizing the referendum which would begin with a limited voter registration exercise in the beneficiary communities.

The Strategic Thinkers Network-Africa has prayed the court for an injunction to stop the referendum to be held in beneficiary communities.

The group wants the Supreme Court to declare as null and void the Electoral Commission’s plan to limit the referendum to only registered voters in the yet-to-be created regions.

The group also wants a declaration that the upcoming limited voter registration exercise in the beneficiary areas “is arbitrary, whimsical and capricious and violates Articles 45(a) and 296 of the 1992 Constitution, and therefore unconstitutional.”

Value For Money

However, Jean Mensah, at the press conference, said the commission would publish the full cost of the exercise in due course.

“Over the last few weeks, we’ve heard discussions on the cost of elections, and we are very mindful of managing the taxpayers’ resources, and we’ll ensure that we use it in the most prudent of manners looking at international best practices. We have received some monies for it and I’d like to assure you that the commission is not cash-starved and therefore the processes will go on as planned. But we are unable now to let you know the actual cost. I’d like to assure you that we will make this available in due course,” she added.