Commission for creation of new regions begins sittings as petitioners enter with maps

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Six petitioners are expected to make their case for the creation of new regions, as the Commission of Enquiry set up for this purpose begins a month-long sitting.

Buoyed by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government's campaign promise to create four new regions, petitioners for new regions have come from the Volta, Northern, Western and Brong Ahafo Regions.

In a politically convenient atmosphere where the requests have some tacit NPP blessings, the petitioners are armed with maps to take the Commission through their own geography lessons.

The venue for the hearings is symbolic. It is being held in a colonial relic, the Osu Castle, where the splitting of Gold Coast regions began and clearly appears not to have ended.

At independence in 1957, Ghana had five regions.

Image result for map of gold coast ghana

The Ashanti Protectorate became the Ashanti region. The Gold Coast colony with capital Accra was split into Eastern and Western regions.

The vast areas of the Northern territory Protectorate and Northern part of Trans-Volta Togoland Trust territory became the Northern region.

The remaining part of Trans-Volta Togoland, plus Anlo and Tongu local council areas of the Gold Coast colony were amalgamated into the Volta region.

But the amalgamations have given way to divisions as the country struggled to understand the fault lines of language and ethnicity left by the colonial authorities.

Ashanti region was split into the Brong Ahafo region in April 1959 and the Northern region was divided into the Upper regions in July 1960.

Ten years later, the Western region with its capital Sekondi was broken up with the creation of the Central region with its capital Cape Coast.

A trend began to emerge that in every decade since independence, a new region was created.

The Accra capital district and Ada local council areas were carved out of the Eastern region to constitute the Greater Accra region in July 1982.

The last split happened in 1983 after Flt. Lt. Jerry Rawlings split the Upper regions into Upper East and Upper West regions.

Governments argue that the splitting of regions is to accelerate development although critics say, decentralisation of power not the creation of regions, is the path to real development.

Some 34 years later, a new wave of carving in and carving out of regions could begin under the Nana Akufo-Addo government.

A nine-member Commission with Justice Stephen Alan Brobbey, a retired Supreme Court Justice as Chairman, read out CI 105 spelling out the terms of reference of the Commission.

They are: to inquire, pursuant to the petitions, into the need and substantial demand for the creation of new regions and, thereby, the alteration of Western Region, Brong Ahafo Region, Northern Region and Volta Region.

They are to make recommendations to the President, based on its findings, on the creation of a region or alteration of regional boundaries;

And to specify the issues to be determined by referendum and the places where the referendum should be held, where it makes recommendations for the creation of new regions and alteration of regional boundaries.