The Director of the Legon Centre for International Affairs (LECIA), Professor Kofi Kumado, has proposed the creation of 10 additional regions to facilitate efficient administration and reduce conflicts between majority and minority ethnic groups in some of the existing regions in the country.
He argued that most of the current regions were too big to be administered by one regional minister, while the chunk of the resources allocated to the regions went to the regional capitals and surrounding towns to the neglect of remote towns and villages.
Again, he said, the conflict situations in some of the regions were generated by attempts by the smaller ethnic groups "to free themselves from the domination" of the bigger ethnic groups.
Prof. Kumado was delivering the third in a series of Golden Jubilee lectures on "The Degree of Our Commitment to Our National Motto - Freedom and Justice: An Assessment" in Accra on Thursday.
It was attended by Members of the Council of State, Ministers of State, Members of Parliament (MPs), chiefs, members of the Diplomatic Corps and students.
The Daily Graphic which published the submission quoted Prof. Kumado as saying that the geographical space of Ghana which consisted of four large blocs, namely the Colony, Asante, the Protectorates of the Northern Regions and Trans-Volta Togoland, remained "glued together by the bond of colonial power even after independence and the departure of the colonial power.
He described the four blocs as the "fault lines" to the nation's internal political freedom, and stressed that the fact that the blocs were brought together in a piecemeal manner to form the state meant that there had been a tendency for each bloc to think of itself first and the nation second.
Prof. Kumado, whose one-hour lecture was greeted with deafening applause, said internal struggles within each bloc became automatically a national headache, while the blocs suffered from "internal colonialism".
For instance, he said, the Central and Western Provinces of the Colony had remained Central and Western regions since 1957, while two regions had been carved out of the Eastern Province, namely Greater Accra and Eastern Region.
Prof. Kumado stated that the remaining part of the Eastern Province was added to the Trans-Volta Togoland to form the Volta Region, while parts of Trans-Volta Togoland were added to parts of the Northern Protectorates to form the present Northern Region.
''The objective behind the creation of new regions would be to dismantle instances of internal colonialism. Our political independence would have been complete because it would then encompass freeing ourselves from both external and internal forces,” he said.
Briefing the media later on the proposal, Prof. Kumado said the conflicts in some of the regions resulted from the oppression of some groups by others, saying that "we have sent the British away but to some people the internal colo¬nial power is still there".
"There may be eruptions somewhere, and when you look at it, the people do not understand why we say the country is independent while they are still under somebody," he said.
For instance, he said, people saw the Nanumba-Kokomba and Nkonya-Alavanyo conflicts as ethnic problems, but observed that it was a feeling of domination.
He said the creation of new regions might not necessarily result in the creation of more districts but the re-adjustment of district boundaries, and said people would not complain of increased number of Ministers of State if they felt the impact of their work.
In making the proposal for the creation of new regions, Prof. Kumado said he was aware of the requirements of Chapter Two of Ghana's Constitution on the creation of new regions, which included the holding of a referendum.
He conceded that the conditions for referendum were stringent, but argued that the country did not have much choice, since the "future of freedom and justice in our nation is at stake".
To cut cost, he suggested the holding of the referendum alongside next year's Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
Prof. Kumado admitted that there would be problems of infrastructure and where to locate new regional capitals besides the costs of providing one-time logistics.
However, he said, adminis¬trative costs should not be a problem "because they were already covered in existing budgets.
"The panacea for tribalism for those for whom it is a problem, lies in these new regions. There is room, in my considered opinion, for as many as 10 new regions.
"These new regions would also help in our desire to devel¬op the whole country more equitably. On reflection, the unwieldy sizes of the existing regions may be part of the bane of our development efforts," he stressed.
Source: Daily Graphic