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Governance expert pushes for law on selection of regional capitals

Source: Myjoyonline.com

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Governance expert Dr Eric Oduro Osae wants a legal framework created to guide in the selection of regional capitals.

He said something needs to be done about the situation where the law allows the president to create new regions but fails to evidently stipulate where the capitals should be located.

“My worry is the constitutional gap where we don’t have any legal framework that will guide us by bringing out the various criteria or indicators that should be taken into consideration in determining a regional capital.

“At the moment it is loose, you leave it to the president to determine where it should go whereas when it comes to the creation of the region proper, the law is clear on what we need to do,” he said on Joy News’ Newsfile.

Dr Osae was reacting to the violence that erupted in Salaga after the president announced Damongo as the capital of the newly created Savannah Region.

The youth in Salaga in protest over not being selected set the constituency office of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) ablaze, demanding that the President Akufo-Addo do right by them.

They argue that the people of Salaga South showed faith in the NPP by voting its parliamentary candidate, Salifu Adam Braimah as MP.

They say the choice of Damongo which voted for an NDC candidate Adam Mutawakilu, does not reward the peoples’ faith in the NPP.

The roofing, fridges, windows, satellite dish and computers are among the many things destroyed by the fire.

The 1992 Constitution provides the legal framework that serves as the basis for regional reorganization and the creation of additional ones. Article 5 (1) states that the President may, by Constitutional Instrument:

• Create a new region

• Alter the boundaries of a region, or

• Provide for the merger of two or more regions.

Clause 2 of the same article says that “if the President, upon a petition being presented to him and, on the advice of the Council of State, is satisfied that there is a substantial demand for:

• The creation of a new region;

• The alteration of the boundaries of a region, whether or not the alteration involves the creation of a new region; or

• The merger of any two or more regions

President Akufo-Addo signed the Constitutional Instrument (CI116) to give effect to the creation of the Savannah region.

Dr Osae believes that had there been a constitutional principle guiding how the selection should be done, the violence would not have been witnessed.

“Going forward let us come out with a framework that will guide us that if you want to site a regional capital out of a new region, these are the factors that you should take into consideration.

“If we have clear cut indicators documented and we do the mapping and tell the people that these are the indicators; ‘Salaga, Dambai, Kete Krachie and Jasikan, it was Dambai that met the indicators so we have given it to them’… it is fair and objective nobody will complain,” he said.

Dr Osae who is also a lawyer said although the president deserves discretionary powers, it should be guided in a manner that makes everyone happy.

Executive Director of the Ark Foundation, Angela Dwamena-Aboagye sides with her colleague lawyer.

She believes that although not everything can be legislated, it is alright and perhaps even easier to go about certain projects if there is a guide on how it should be done.

“It makes it easier for people to understand why you arrived at this decision. So it is a good thing,” she said.

Dr Dwamena-Aboagye is, however, unhappy with Ghana’s development language which she sees as being too heavily focused on physical infrastructure development.

That for her is part of the reasons why people tend to fight to get “this bit of space in our space because immediately we will see a building come up that is supposed to be the administrative building, we will see more offices and office s being done and so on.

“If we understood that development is beyond physical infrastructure, it will really help in some of these agitations.”

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