Local Government and Rural Development Minister Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo says those questioning the creation of 45 new constituencies, especially members of the opposition NPP, citing the issue of timing have got it all wrong.

According to the Minister, constituencies are not created for political parties but ordinary citizens who are demanding a greater say in the crafting of the nation?s laws and the attainment of local development.

Mr Ofosu Ampofo was responding to earlier comments by a former Minister under the Kufuor administration who called on the EC to suspend the creation of the new constituencies because it was too close to the elections.

Yaw Osafo Maafo was explaining the rationale behind an open letter he wrote to the Electoral Commission calling for the suspension on Adom FM?s Dwaso Nsem morning show on Wednesday September 12, 2012.

The former Finance Minister was a member of the Consultative Assembly and served as Chairman of the Committee that drafted the portion of the 1992 Constitution which deals with the ?Rights of the People? under which all the constitutional provisions relating to the functions of the Electoral Commission and political parties are captured.

Speaking on Dwaso Nsem Mr Osafo Maafo, who also served as MP for Akim Oda, said while the law gave the EC the power to create new constituencies, it was also important that the spirit behind the law is taken into consideration when it is being implemented.

He emphasized that political parties are run along democratic lines, with the leadership of the parties enjoined to operate in accordance with the national and party constitutions. With just three months to the December poll, it might be too much to expect the Electoral Commission and the political parties to put all the necessary structures in place to adequately contest the election.

However, Mr Ofosu Ampofo, who walked into the studios of Adom FM, said the political parties urging the EC to suspend the exercise because it was too close to the elections were being hypocritical, mainly  because the EC informed them about its intention to create new constituencies about 6 months ago at an Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting.

?Jake Obetsebi Lamptey represented NPP, Asiedu Nketiah was there for NDC and Bernard Mornah was there for PNC, as well as other people. They even gave them the breakdown on the number of constituencies to be created in each region. The only thing they didn?t give them was the specific names because they had to do some boundary demarcations,? he said.

?In any case? he argued, ?a constituency is not created for political parties. There can be a constituency where political parties can decide not to contest. An independent person can go and file nominations and contest in those constituencies?.

He dismissed claims that the ruling party was engaged in gerrymandering in order to win more parliamentary seats, insisting no one knew the minds of the electorate. Citing the creation of 70 new districts and municipalities during the 8 year tenure of the Kufuor administration, the Minister, who is also NDC candidate for Tema West questioned, ?Can we also say Kufuor was engaged in gerrymandering??

Mr Ofosu Ampofo called on Ghanaians not to ?toy? with EC Chairman Kwadwo Afari-Gyan by attacking his credibility and competence over his insistence on following the letter of the law, saying he had an enviable reputation since the 1990?s when he took the chairmanship of the EC.

From: Ghana l Adomonline.com l Frank Agyei-Twum

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