Parliament Adopts C.I. 109 for Referendum to Create New Regions

Parliament has adopted Report of The Committee of Subsidiary Legislation on the Referendum (Creation of New Regions) Regulations, 2018, (C.I.109) paving way for a referendum for creation of six additional regions.

The referendum Regulations 2018 was laid before Parliament on 30thOctober, 2018 in response to petitions made to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo by individuals and groups requesting the creation of new regions.

 The President, after receiving the petitions, forwarded them to the Council of State for advice, which endorsed the request for the creation of the regions.

In October 2017, the President appointed a 9-member commission of inquiry chaired by Justice Stephen A. Brobbey, a retired Supreme Court Judge to further examine the petitions.

The Commission of Inquiry, in its report submitted to the President on June 26, 2018, affirmed that there are substantial demands for the creation of six regions namely: Western North, Bono East, Ahafo, Savannah, North East and Oti Region.

President Akufo-Addo consequently referred the recommendations to the Electoral Commission to conduct a referendum in accordance with article 5(5) of The 1992 Constitution.

 In its report, the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation noted that the Constitutional Instrument (C.I. 109) provides the areas where the referendums are to be held among many other recommendations and urged the House to adopt it and allow the C.I.109 to come into force at the expiration of twenty-one sitting days of Parliament in accordance with Article11(7) of the Constitution.

Members of the Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC), however,staged a walkout before adoption of the report, after calls for the Justice Brobbey Committee report to be made available to House went unheeded.

 Minority leader, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu, had argued that debating the Constitutional Instrument without being privy to the Justice Brobbey Commission Report is akin to asking Parliament to conduct a surgical operation in the dark with no idea whether C.I.109 conforms in material respects to the recommendations of the Commission’s Report.

 destination of the Commission of Inquiry report is the Electoral Commission(EC) to facilitate organization of referendum for creation of the new regions and not Parliament House.

He argued that regardless of outcome of debate on the floor of Parliament, the C.I. would mature in twenty-one days and come into effect and pave way for the referendum.

 The Majority leader explained that C.I. 109 emanates from the Constitution and not the Justice Brobbey Commission Report and deals with the conduct of the referendum and not creation of the regions.

 This distinction, he said, should be made clearly in order to avoid mixing the issues that the C.I. is dealing with.

According to him, a constitutional instrument for the creation of the new regions would consequently be submitted to Parliament by the President after conduct of the referendum.

By Osumanu Al-Hassan/uthmanhass@gmail.com

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