Argument against creating more constituencies
Date published: July 9, 2012
I am disappointed about the Electoral Commission’s insistence on creating more constituencies. It makes no sense. I was one of those who wrote against the 2004 increment to 230 from 200.
One thing I have realised is that our leaders think that quantity brings development. I disagree.
We have about 160 districts, most of which are not viable. In advanced democracies, local governments are created only when they have enough tax base to support the provision of local amenities.
In our case, we create these districts and constituencies to score cheap political points, and fund them with scarce central government resources. The argument that creating districts and constituencies bring development is bogus. It has not happened!
Returning to the creation of new constituencies. The elections are just around the corner, and with the tension in the air, I do not see the sensibility of why the EC will go that route.
Also, we do not have offices and staff for the existing members of parliament (MPs).
We need to provide them with the facilities to become effective legislators, instead of increasing their numbers. We should also not forget about the ex-gratia, which will increase by about 20%.
During the constitutional review process, I sent in a submission for a cap to be placed on the number of ministers, Supreme Court justices and MPs.
The only issue that appeared in the government white paper was the cap on the Supreme Court. We should adopt the strategies of the advanced democracies, where legislatures have a fixed number of seats. The seats are then distributed amongst state, regions or provinces, due to population shifts.
We are a poor nation operating a very expensive constitution that has not brought us any development. In the US state of Pennsylvania, the state is trying to reduce its legislature size from about 253 seats to about 190 seats to save cost.
If such a rich society has seen that there are savings to be made, why is a poor nation like Ghana going in the opposite direction.
I am taking this opportunity to ask the EC to stop the creation of the new constituencies, as it is poor timing, and poor formula for the distribution amongst the regions, and not necessary.
Kwaku Obeng, PA USA, (email@example.com)
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