President Mahama Dramani Mahama yesterday goofed when he claimed that the “principal constitutional mandate for creating new districts rests with the Electoral Commission,” after announcing that government plans to create new Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies in the country.
Checks done by the Daily Statesman show the President rather plays the dominant role when it comes to the creation of districts. The EC rather has the principal constitutional mandate when it comes to creation of constituencies.
The 1992 Constitution and the Local Government Act (Act 462), 1993, provide the legal framework for creation of districts
Article 241 (2) of the Constitution provides that: "Parliament may by law make provision for the redrawing of the boundaries of districts or for reconstituting the districts."
The Local Government Act (Act 462), however, gives the President the dominant role in creating new districts. Section 1(2) of Act 462 empowers the President, through Executive Instrument, to (a) declare any area within Ghana to be a district; and (b) assign a name to the district.
In exercising his powers, the President is required "to direct the Electoral Commission to make such recommendations as it considers appropriate for the purpose".
In other words, the President may consider the advice of the EC when it comes to the issue of creating new districts but he is not bound by the advice.
Section 1 (4) of Act 462 stipulates the criteria of population, geographical contiguity and economic viability, which must be considered in the creation of districts.
In terms of population (a) for a district, there should be a minimum population of 75,000 people; (b) for a municipality, the minimum population is 95,000 people as well as a geographical area that consists of a single compact settlement; and (c) for a metropolis, the minimum population is 250,000 people.
President Mahama yesterday announced plans by government to create more districts in the country, even though he did not tell when it would take place.
The president, who disclosed this in response to a request by the chief of Agona Nyakrom during the inauguration of the Abodoman Senior High School in the Central Region, said government had received a number of requests from the citizenry for creation of more districts.
“There are many request for the establishment of new districts; it is not peculiar to Agona alone; all over the country I have received requests for creation of new districts,” he said.
President Mahama explained that even though the “principal constitutional mandate for creating new districts rests with the Electoral Commission”, it has to work closely with recommendations from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
“I want to assure that districts will be created but in a comprehensive manner. They are not to be created individually on singly. We would look at what the population numbers are in the various districts and those that qualify to be created as new districts will be given new districts and I assure you that when this process takes place, Agona Nyakrom is not going to be left out, I can assure you Nana,” he added.
The governing National Democratic Congress few months to the 2012 election created 46 new districts and 45 new constituencies amidst some controversies over the sighting of the district capitals.
Currently the total number of MMDAs in Ghana stands at 216 while the constituencies are 275.
Source: The New Statesman
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