Over creation of new 46 Districts & 45 new Constituencies

Sat, 21 Jul 2012 Source: The Herald

Despite the wild jubilation which greeted the creation of the 45 new constituencies and the 46 newly inaugurated districts, four lawyers belonging to the New Patriotic Party (NPP), including an in-law of Chief Justice Georgina Wood, are ferociously out to crash the joy of the people.

The lawyers, namely; Nii Ayikoi Otoo, Captain (rtd) Nkrabiah Effah-Dartey, Frank Davies and Samuel Atta Akyea, a brother in-law of the Chief Justice, have in four separate suits dragged the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Djan, to Court to have the creation of the constituencies and districts rendered illegal.

The court cases come days after the NPP, which in 2004, created some 30 new constituencies under the presidency of John Agyekum Kufuor without trouble, accused the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) of trying to cleverly amass more seats in the 2013 Parliament, through a political scheme called “Gerrymandering”.

NPP National Chairman, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Minority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu and others claim the Mills government is involved in the practice of “Gerrymandering” by manipulating geographic boundaries for a political advantage.

The word “Gerrymandering” originated from Massachusetts-America in 1812, when the state senate election districts under the then-governor Elbridge Gerry, signed a bill that redistricted and faced claims that he was doing so to benefit his party.

In Parliament last Tuesday, Minority NPP MPs led by Mr. Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu threw the House into pandemonium as they objected to the EC’s paper sent to the House of Parliament for a new Constitutional Instrument to create new constituencies across the country.

The Minority cited the pendency of a judicial decision on the matter at the Supreme Court. The Speaker, Justice Joyce Bamford-Addo, however, disagreed with them and instead referred the document to the Subsidiary Legislation Committee for discussion and report.

A group calling itself Concerned Citizens of Ghana (CCG) led Mr. Frank Davies one time Greater Accra Regional Bar Association President and an NPP Constituency executive in the region, took the EC and the Government of Ghana to court over the creation of new Metropolitan, Municipal, District Assemblies (MMDA’s) and Constituencies.

The CCG claimed in a writ of summons that, the government failed to address the associated problems of equity and fairness, by ensuring equal representation in the re-alignment exercise.

It claimed the creation of the new districts was in contravention of the provisions of the local government Act 1993, Act 462, describing the creation of several of the new districts and municipalities as illegal.

The plaintiffs; Atta Dwomoh, Abdul-Rahman Abubakar, Margaret Senkyire and Wilford Quarcoo are seeking an order declaring the announced newly created MMDA’s and constituencies null and void.

Prior to this case, Nii Ayikoi Otoo, an ex-Minister of Justice under the Kufuor regime, also filed a case on behalf of the a group of people believe to be NPP activists who want the newly created MMDA’s and constituencies declared null and void.

In between the two cases, is another one filed by the NPP MP for Abuakwa South, Mr. Atta Akyea, who also dragged the EC over its decision to use the old voters’ register rather than the yet-to-be-certified Biometric Voters’ Register to conduct the impending two by-elections in the Ashanti and Northern Regions following the death of the Wulensi MP and Afigya Kwabre MP, respectively.

Just about a week ago, an Accra Fast Track High Court ordered the EC, Dr. Afari Gyan to appear before it for breaching an injunction, because EC undertook the Biometric Registration Exercise in Akuse, in spite of a court injunction secured by the chief of the area, Nene Teye Tetriku to halt the process.

On Wednesday, the Commission represented by the Human Resource Manager at the EC, Mohammed Aduquaye, was sacked from Court after lawyer for the plaintiff, Nkrabea Effah Dartey, a former MP and ex-Deputy Minister for Interior in the Kufuor regime, asked the court to rather summon Dr. Afari Gyan to represent the EC.

His request was obliged by the court and the Commissioner, Dr. Afari Gyan is expected at the next sitting on July 26.

Columnist: The Herald