General News of Wednesday, 28 November 2018
The Supreme Court has dismissed a suit challenging the planned referendum for the creation of six new regions.
According to Graphic Online’s court reporter, Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson, in a unanimous decision, a seven-member panel of the court held that the three individuals who initiated the suit failed to properly invoke the interpretative jurisdiction of the court.
The three plaintiffs, Mayor Agbleze, Destiny Awlimey and Jean Claude Koku Amenyaoglo went to the court seeking an interpretation of Article 5 of the 1992 Constitution, which deals with the creation of new regions, and merger of regions.
They had argued that it was unconstitutional for the referendum for the new regions to be limited to only the proposed areas.
According to them, the right thing was to allow all persons in the entire regions that would be altered to vote.
But in its judgement, Wednesday, November 28 morning, Ebo Hawkson reports the court held that Article 5 was clear, precise and unambiguous, and therefore, did not inquire any interpretation from the apex court.
It said Article 5 mandates the Commission of Inquiry to specify the areas where the referendum should be held, while the EC was mandated to prescribe the manner in which the referendum was to be held.
“Provisions of Article 5 is clear and contain no ambiguity. The plaintiffs have therefore failed to invoke the original jurisdiction of the court. The case is, accordingly, dismissed,” the court ruled.
The judgement was read by Prof. Justice Nii Ashie Kotey, while Justice Sophia Adinyera presided over the panel.
Other members of the panel were Justice Jones Dotse, Justice Anin Yeboah, Justice Samuel K. Marful-Sau, Justice Agnes M. Dodzie, Justice Nene A. Amegatcher.
On August 15, 2017, the Council of State advised President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to appoint a Commission of Enquiry to look into the need to create six regions and make recommendations on all the factors involved in the creation of the new regions.
The commission, known as the Justice Brobbey Commission, which was established pursuant to Article 5 of the 1992 Constitution and Constitutional Instrument (CI) 105, commenced work on November 21, 2017.
On June 27, 2018, the commission presented its report to President Akufo-Addo and recommended the creation of six new administrative regions, namely, Oti, Ahafo, Brong East, Western North, North East and Savannah.
The Commission of Enquiry recommended to the President that the referendum be limited to the proposed new regions.
Consequently, the EC has set December 27, 2018 for the referendum.