IMANI Ghana, a think tank is poised to launch a report on the 30 May, 2018.
The report, “Proliferation of New Districts and Constituencies in Ghana: The Mismatch Between Policy Objectives, Outcomes and Impacts,” analyses the policy the Electoral Commission of Ghana deployed in the creation of parliamentary constituencies.
The policy entails the creation of new administrative districts by the executive and the possibility of abuse of the system to favour a political party.
The report would also analyze the extent to which the representation of MPs of the created constituencies in 2004 are aligned with their mandate.
The think tank would engage stakeholders and the public during the event to discuss the findings and emerging issues and device ideas to better guide Ghana’s pursuit of enhancing decentralization and representation.
Discussions would also analyze the relationship between the policy objectives and policy outcomes of the creation of new districts. The practice of creating districts in Ghana has been a subject of controversy for some time now, with series of gerrymandering accusations and other related issues.
Such long-standing practices have often resulted in boycotting elections, inter-community conflict, and other disunity in the past. Successive governments, on the other hand, have justified the proliferation of district creation by indicating that the goal is to fast-track development in such areas.
In other words, creating new districts will lead to improved service delivery as well as bring development closer to the people. However, a worrying trend that emanates from the frequent creation of new districts is its ripple effects on constituency demarcation and the inability of these districts to generate enough revenue to deliver as expected.
In 2004, some large and populous districts which constituted single-member constituencies were split while smaller administrative units were automatically converted into constituencies by the EC.
The event raised the membership of parliament from 200 to 230. The creation of constituencies has also had its fair share of agitations.
It will be recalled that the EC’s decision was challenged by various interest groups and the minority political parties at the time, who believed that the newly created constituencies should not be contestable in the then upcoming Parliamentary elections.
However, a Supreme Court ruling gave the “green light” for these constituencies to be contestable. In 2012, this cycle repeated itself when the Electoral Commission laid C.I 78 before Parliament which resulted in the creation of 45 additional constituencies before Parliament.
Given that the EC is enjoined by Article 47(5) of the Constitution to review the number of constituencies every 7 years or after a population census, which occurs every 10 years, the report sought to provide some evidence for meaningful discussions and consultations to inform a more systematic and transparent review process in 2019.