Gov’t says it’s "satisfied" with referendum successes but…

Government says though it is satisfied with the outcome of Thursday’s referendum, it was never interested in a ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ vote in the constitutional process that has resulted in the creation of six new regions. Ahead of the polls, some critics accused government of pushing and influencing residents in the affected areas to vote YES in the historic referendum for the creation of the new regions; claims that were rejected. Official results released by the Electoral Commission Friday from the six regions showed massive endorsement by the electorates as they voted to exceed the required 80 per cent for the creation to be successful. Speaking to TV3’s Komla Klutse moments after the EC declared the Oti Region duly created, Minister for Regional Reoganisation and Development, Dan Kweku Botwe expressed delight in the success of the referendum. He explained the government is satisfied that it was able to follow through the constitutional requirement in the referendum and not necessarily the results of the polls. “Of course for those who want it, they will say it’s a success but ours is the success of the process, not necessarily YES or NO,” he told our correspondent. “For us as a government, the issue is not the YES or NO. For us, it’s following the constitutional process, creating the necessary platform, the linkages and working together with all stakeholders to this stage; that is what we are satisfied with,” Mr Botwe explained. He added: “Ours was not a particular outcome; whether people voted ‘YES’ or ‘NO,’ that is not for us as a government…or how we are going to be assessed”. He said government is delighted because it followed the constitutional process “diligently” and created the necessary platform for people in the affected regions to vote and express themselves. [caption id="attachment_109521" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Mr. Botwe speaking to our Komla Klutse [L][/caption]“That is what we were looking for, so the success on the part of government is not the fact that everybody voted YES, no! but the fact that we were able to complete the processes using the constitutional process and we have gotten to this stage,” he indicated. The referendum ended Thursday with the creation of Ahafo, Bono East, North East, Oti, Savannah, and Western North regions from the Brong Ahafo, Northern, Volta and Western Regions. Parliament is expected to endorse same and per the 1992 constitution, President Nana Akufo-Addo is enjoined to issue a Constitutional Instrument to give effect to the creation of the new regions to bring to 16, the total administrative regions in Ghana. Citing under-development and inequalities, opinion and traditional leaders in the new six regions petitioned President Nana Akufo-Addo to initiate processes for them to be given regional independence. Consequent to the petition, the President constituted a Commission of Inquiry to collate views on the proposal after which the Commission recommended to the government to proceed with the creation of the new regions. The EC was then given the go ahead to hold the referendum for the people in the six new regions to decide whether the regions should be created. Despite the expression of misgivings about the creation of the new regions and legal action, the road was cleared for the EC to conduct the referendum on December 27.

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By Stephen Kwabena| Ghana]]>