***USA POP: 311,591917, MPS 535
***ENGLAND POP: 62, 262,000, MPS 650
***GHANA POP: 24,392,000. MPS 230+45=275
THE United States of America with a population of more than 313 million people has 535 members of parliament in both lower and upper chambers. South Africa has population of over 50 million has only 490 members of parliament. Nigeria, our closest neighbours has population of over 166 million people with 360 members in its second chamber. Mexico has a population of more than 112 million but has a colossal number of 628 members of parliament. The United Kingdom has 62, 262,000 as its population with 650 members in its double chambers. Kenya also has population of 42 million and 42 MPS. The question now is why should Ghana, a HIPIC country with a population of 24 million that is one-sixth of Nigeria, increase its members to 275, almost half of that of USA.
Ion Ghana the Electoral Commission is planning to add 45 more constituencies to the existing 230, following the creation of new districts by the government.
The EC is increasing the number of constituencies in the Ashanti Region from 39 to 47. Volta Region increases from 22 to 26, the same as Western Region.
Central Region increased from 19 to 23, Eastern Region increased by five more constituencies from 28 to 33, whilst that of the Greater Accra Region increased from 27 to 34.
In the Upper East, two more constituencies have been created, putting the figure at 15, with the figure for Upper West Region increasing by one, from 10 to 11.
The Northern Region increased from 26 to 31, with the Brong Ahafo also getting an increase of five constituencies, from 24 to 29.
Article 47(5) of Ghana's 1992 Constitution mandates the EC to 'review the division of Ghana into constituencies at intervals of not less than seven years, or within 12 months after the publication of the enumeration figures after holding of a census of the population of Ghana, whichever is earlier, as may, as a result, alter constituencies'.
Whilst conceding that the action by the EC was grounded in law, the Minority leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu has questioned the creation of the new constituencies, which was necessitated by the creation of new districts in the country.
Though he agreed that it was a constitutional requirement, he argued that just doing that will not meet what the constitution provides. He maintained, “otherwise, you can have any president who would, out of whatever reason other than equity, create districts to suit his own purpose and then force the hand of the EC to create constituencies to favour a particular political party. It appears that is what we are witnessing.
But looking at the above statistics and research conducted by your authoritative Daily STAR newspaper, there is no need to increase the existing constituencies.
The creation of the constituencies would bring to 275 the total number of constituencies in the country. The EC has been dragged to court to answer questions as to the method it is employing in the creation of these new constituencies and if there is the need.
Story by KOFI OWUSU TAWIAH