The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), will deploy 50 observers to monitor the upcoming referendum for the possible creation of six new regions scheduled for Thursday, 27th December, 2018.
The observers will be deployed to the various districts within the regions where the exercise will take place.
Voting will take place in the Volta,Western, Brong Ahafo and Northern regions for the possible creation of six new administrative regions, Oti, Ahafo, Bono East, Western North, Savannah and North East.
The election observers say they will ensure transparency, accountability and credibility of the exercise.
Referendum will come off despite lawsuit
Though some two individuals who reside in the Kadjebi District of the Volta Region, have dragged the Electoral Commission and the Attorney General to court seeking for an injunction and a postponement of the upcoming referendum, the EC has said it is not perturbed by the lawsuit.
A statement signed by a Deputy Chair of the EC in charge of Corporate Services, Bossman Eric Asare, said the referendum will come off as scheduled.
“…The Commission calls on the general public to disregard that information. All arrangements are in place and the referendum will be held as scheduled.”
Details of latest suit against referendum
According to the applicants – Gabriel Aziaglo and Dan Louis Nikabo – the Electoral Commission has not been fair and transparent in its conduct prior to the referendum, and must be ordered to correct what they describe as “unlawful” acts.
“…an order of interlocutory injunction restraining 1st respondent, its privies assigns, workmen or however described from proceeding to hold, holding or conducting or supervising any referendum in the proposed six regions of the Republic of Ghana on Thursday, the 27th of December, 2018, pending a final determination of the suit on its merits,” the two said in their writ.
Gabriel and Nikabo in their writ argue that the Electoral Commission failed to publish the list of polling stations in the gazette thus violating the “applicants’ right to vote.”
They also argue that the official gazette in respect to the polling stations if it was made within a week or five days before the 27th of December, 2018, is unlawful, unreasonable and capricious.
The two also said the Commission’s failure to gazette the 27th December, 2018 referendum puts the poll “in danger of not being transparent and fair because it disables applicants from appointing polling agents and counting officers.”
The two are thus praying the court to declare that the EC’s refusal to publish the list of the polling stations or places designated as polling stations for purposes of the referendum violates their right to vote.
“…A declaration that any list of polling stations given or which may have circulated from the Electoral Commission to any interested group is unlawful and null for lack of gazette. A declaration that any discretion purported to be exercised by the Electoral Commission by gazetting the list within a day or two or even within a week is unreasonable, capricious and actuated by lack of candour. An order against the Electoral Commission to postpone the polls scheduled for the 27th of December, 2018, for failure to comply with a condition precedent. An order that the Electoral Commission gazettes the list of polling stations for the referendum in compliance with its own regulation,” the two added in their writ.
Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit on new regions referendum
The Supreme Court in November 2018 dismissed a lawsuit that sought to challenge the decision of the EC to only allow residents in the affected areas to vote in the referendum.
According to the Justices of the Supreme Court, there is no genuine or real issue for interpretation as the constitution states unambiguously, the discretionary power given to the Electoral Commission.
The Justices also said the Commission of Enquiry did not err in suggesting how the referendum should be held as they did not hold the final authority to decide.
The Justice Brobbey Commission was set up to look into the requests for the creation of new regions and has presented its report to the government.
The 19-member Commission, after holding nationwide consultations, urged the government to create the administrative regions.
The Electoral Commission has embarked on a series of activities, including the registration of new and continuous voters, the exhibition of the voters’ register, as well as processes for the transfer of votes and or the grant of proxy votes.
But some stakeholders in some of the areas especially in parts of the Volta Region, are opposed to the Oti Region.
Others also have concerns about the restriction of the referendum to areas that will be part of the new regions.
‘We’re not breaking any law in creating new regions’ – Nana Addo
President Nana Akufo-Addo had mounted a spirited defense of his administration’s move to create new regions saying it does not violate the 1992 constitution.
Joe Bright Nyarko
Journalist/Communication Researcher. Environment & Sustainability Advocate. Managing Editor of aptnewsghana.com, a non-profit news portal with bias towards environment and sustainability issues, rural development policies and gender & inequality.