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05.05.2019 Feature Article

Creation of New Constituencies Is Not a Lie

Creation of New Constituencies Is Not a Lie

She says that it is smack among the major items on the agenda of the Electoral Commission (EC), but that it has yet to be brought up for discussion and possible implementation in the offing. So, it is not totally accurate when the EC’s Chair, Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa, reportedly, says that it is “a total lie” for anybody, politician or ordinary Ghanaian citizen, to suggest or put into the public domain that the Commission is in the process of creating 25 new parliamentary constituencies in the leadup to the 2020 general election (See “Creating New Constituencies ‘A Total Lie’ – EC Boss” 5/3/19).

So far, two figures are being bandied about, namely, the figure of 25 that has already been observed above; and the figure of 17. Whatever be the case, it is seven years since the extant EC Chair and former Legon political scientist, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, created 35 new constituencies, with only four months to the polling day of the 2012 general election. The 1992 Constitution stipulates a review of census data projections every seven years in order to ensure that the Ghanaian people are accurately represented in Parliament or our National Assembly. So, clearly, it is better for Mrs. Mensa to boldly come out and clearly acknowledge that, yes, more constituencies are apt to be created in the offing, squarely based on the constitutional mandate of every seven years, than purely at the whims and/or caprices of either the Ghana Electoral Commission (GEC) or at the behest of the Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Now, we can talk about the fact of the present Parliament’s having been packed by the country’s longest-serving EC Chair with too many seats and constituencies. It is also quite clear – if it has not already been made as such – that the composition of the number of citizens that needs to be represented in Parliament by each parliamentary representative ought to be promptly amended and upped to at least 75,000, from the present 50,000. I have pointed this out many times before, that Ghana could readily use the American example, with 100,000 people being represented in the United States’ Congress by one congressional representative. The way we are going at it in Ghana, if rational and practically manageable steps are not taken, much sooner than later, there will be more Members of Parliament (MPs) than the size of the entire population of the country.

As for the fact of whether, like Dr. Afari-Gyan, Mrs. Mensa has a legal right to the creation of new constituencies in the runup to Election 2020, can best be answered by the afore-referenced constitutional stipulation. But, of course, the rather farcical idea that, somehow, there is something either weird or abnormal about the creation of more constituencies under the watch or tenure of Mrs. Mensa, unarguably the best qualified and professionally experienced Ghanaian citizen ever to be appointed Chairperson of the EC, is just that, inexcusably farcical. Needless to say, where most of the anticipated constituencies get created will be more a matter of population growth or density than the fact of whether the earmarked locations of these constituencies are the electoral strongholds of the ruling New Patriotic Party or not.

In any case, hasn’t it been said countless times that “What is good for the goose is equally good for the gander”? If the implication from the members of the National Democratic Congress’ parliamentary opposition is that most of the 35 parliamentary constituencies created by Dr. Afari-Gyan were located/sited in NDC strongholds, then it ought to equally stand to reason that there is absolutely nothing wrong with having the Jean Mensa-chaired EC locate/site most of the anticipated 17 to 25 constituencies in the New Patriotic Party’s electoral strongholds. Of course, this Akufo-Addo-led NPP administration is not apt to do anything so outrageously undemocratic, based on the exemplary neoliberal democratic credentials and established record of the latter administration, so far.

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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
May 4, 2019
E-mail: [email protected]

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., © 2019

This author has authored 4567 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

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