The government has no intention of imposing new regions on the people, the Minister for Regional Reorganisation and Development, Mr Dan Kwaku Botwe, has stated.
The decision to carve out new regions from existing ones, according to the minister, would be the sole prerogative of the people, which would be done through a referendum, and, therefore, urged Ghanaians to disregard commentaries which sought to portray that the government was bent on carrying out the exercise to fulfil a manifesto promise.
Mr Botwe, who was speaking at a sensitisation forum in Ho yesterday, said: “If the petition for new regions finds favour with the Commission of Enquiry set out to look at the concerns, it does not end there.
The President will send it to the Electoral Commission for a referendum. So it is not something that can just be created. We cannot.”
The forum was organised for staff of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the media and the Information Services Department (ISD) in Ho.
It was to prepare the grounds for the Commission of Enquiry to begin its work of collating views and ideas on the process through a public forum in the Volta Region which was to begin from January 16 to 20.
Mr Botwe indicated that for a new region to be created, it would require a 50 per cent turnout, with 80 per cent consenting votes at a referendum.
Explaining further, the minister said so far what the ministry had done on the matter was following due processes and, therefore, urged persons with dissenting views to feel free to share their opinions for a smooth process.
“So it is not a question of carrying out demonstrations and holding press conferences to show your stance that you want it or not.
“There is no partisan consideration to this matter. This is a constitutional exercise and people are free to make inputs,” he stated.
According to him, the government was not going to sponsor campaigns for or against the reorganisation of the regions, saying “the petitioners are to use their own resources to champion their cause”.
The Volta Region covers a land area of 20,570 square kilometres and constitutes 8.6 per cent of Ghana’s total land area, with a projected population of about 2.5 million.
The petitioners, who are from the northern part of the region, claim that their area is under-developed and, therefore, needs to be carved out of the existing region to speed up development there.
The region is one of the four regions where petitions have been received for the creation of new regions. The rest are the Western, Northern and Brong Ahafo regions.
The Volta Regional Minister, Mr Archibald Yao Letsa, advised the people to take advantage of the upcoming sitting of the commission in Ho to voice their opinions on the issue.