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CDD questions legality of 45 new constituencies
24 July 2012
The Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) has joined the crusade in criticizing the Electoral Commission for creating 45 new constituencies.
Whilst it acknowledges the power of the EC to undertake periodic review of the constituencies, the group insists the procedure adopted by the EC to create the new constituencies is flawed and inconsistent with Article 47 of the 1992 Constitution.
CDD is also concerned about the huge financial and logistical burden the creation of the new constituencies has on the country as well as the political parties.
The statement from CDD follows several criticisms, mostly from the opposition political parties against the creation of the constituencies barely four months to go for an election.
Some groups have also filed a suit challenging the procedure adopted by the EC in creating the new constituencies.
In a statement CDD-Ghana said “it is totally convinced that the prevailing practice by which the EC’s review of constituencies automatically leads to an increase in the number of parliamentary constituencies is wrong and unsustainable.”
“Secondly, even if the EC decides to propose increment in the number of constituencies as it exercises its discretion in the implementation of its constitutional mandate to “review the division of Ghana into constituencies,” population quota must be the primary consideration in apportioning constituencies (as dictated by Article 47(3) of the Constitution) in abiding by the principles of democratic representation.
The group also raised questions about the timing for the creation of the new constituencies.
“The timing of the creation of the additional constituencies also presents its own challenges to the electoral calendar. The EC is already late in meeting its own original schedule regarding preparations toward December 7. It will make good public management sense for the EC to put its energy into providing a credible and reliable biometric voter register and getting ready for the December polls, which from all indications, is going to be closely contested.
“It will impose additional burdens on the country’s already stretched public finances. The addition of 45 constituencies will necessarily require modifications to the physical structure of the existing chamber of Parliament. It would have to be re-designed to accommodate 275 Members of Parliament (MPs) from 2013. In addition, the country will be saddled with the additional financial burden of catering for 45 MPs for the next 4 years, in addition to financing ex-gratia payments for 275 MPs in 2017. It is patently unfair for Ghanaian taxpayers to be asked to finance this project for the institution of Parliament, which has itself done so little, under successive governments, to protect the national purse.
The statement concluded: “CDD-Ghana affirms its deep respect for the principle of representation as fundamental to democratic good governance. Yet, the Center is of the view that the current formula and procedure for realizing this objective is reckless. The timing of the creation of these constituencies and the consequent financial cost do not suggest sound public policy planning and good financial management practice. CDD-Ghana urges the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament and Parliament as a whole to examine the EC’s proposal to create additional 45 constituencies in a bipartisan fashion and reject it accordingly.”