20.06.12 Ghana Politics and Security
EC announces creation of 45 new constituencies
Last week, the Electoral Commission (EC) chairman, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, made it known that the 45 new constituencies are to be demarcated in time for
this year's presidential poll. Speaking at a forum organised by the Ghana
Journalists Association (GJA) he said that the creation of the new
the EC's constitutional responsibility following the release of new census
figures by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS).
The opposition claims that the timing of the announcement has been calculated to
benefit the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC). Whilst conceding that the EC's actions are legal the New Patriotic
Party's (NPP) parliamentary leader, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, told the local press that the law allowed presidents to “create constituencies
to favour a particular political party” which was, he said, the NDC's aim in
The NPP's chairman in the UK, Hayford Atta-Krufi, told a London based radio station that the NDC and the EC are “in cahoots” to cheat the Ghanaian people in the forthcoming elections with the creation of
the new constituencies, as further evidenced by the GSS withholding the results
of the population census for two years.
Article 47(5) of the 1992 Constitution mandates the EC to “review the division of Ghana into constituencies at intervals of not less than
seven years, or within twelve months after the publication of the enumeration
figures after holding of a census of the population of Ghana, whichever is
earlier, as may, as a result, alter constituencies”.
In 2004, the EC increased the number of constituencies from 200 to the current
230. The creation of further constituencies has been expected following the
creation of 42 new districts last year.
The Electoral Commission has also announced that, out of Ghana's total prison
population of over 13,000, only 476 registered to vote during the recent
biometric registration exercise. This fuelled further speculation that some
prisoners had deliberately been prevented from registering. The EC continues,
however, to deny this and says that the prison service had done everything
ensure that all prisoners who could provide the required registration form
Last year President Mills announced the government's intention to allow
prisoners to vote last year, following many years of national debates and
human rights campaigners, after a Supreme Court ruling was backed by the
The EC also said that a two-day “mop-up” exercise that took place at 186
registration centres around the country on 9 and 10 June produced an additional
voters. The Commission decided to allow those who were unable to register the
first time round, because of technical and other difficulties, the chance to do
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