The Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) has cautioned the government against interfering in the referendum process for the creation of new regions.

According to CDD, the integrity of the process stands to be compromised should government unduly meddle in the process.

In a statement copied to citinewsroom.com, CDD expressed satisfaction in the publication of the report by the Justice Brobbey Commission on the creation of the new regions, noting that the upcoming referendum will be the first under the country’s current democratic dispensation.

It said the move was good for transparency.

“CDD-Ghana, wants to caution government and its agencies against any interference in the referendum process which will undermine the integrity of the polls. In the next two weeks, as the nation prepares for the exercise, it is the expectation of the Center that the EC will manage the referendum process in accordance with the principles of free, fair and credible elections.”

While urging the Electoral Commission (EC) to collaborate with the various security agencies to ensure that the entire referendum process is smooth, it said the commission to increase education and public sensitization on the referendum.

“CDD-Ghana is calling on the EC to step up public education and sensitization on the referendum, particularly with regards to voting arrangements and procedures, to enable qualified voters to make the right decisions.”

The Justice Brobbey Commission was set up to look into the requests for the creation of new regions, and subsequently presented its report to the government.

The 19-member Commission, after holding nationwide consultations, urged the government to create the administrative regions to be known as the Oti, Ahafo, Brong East, Western North, North East, and Savannah regions.

The EC has set December 27, 2018, for the referendum.

Read the full statement below:

The Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) has followed the discourse and recent developments surrounding the proposal to create six new regions. We note in particular, the unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court of Ghana which dismissed a suit brought before it by three individuals challenging the decision of the Electoral Commission (EC) to allow only residents in the affected areas instead of the entire region to vote in the referendum.

The suit had also sought clarity on who qualified to vote in the referendum, specifically in relation to the creation of the Oti Region. CDD-Ghana also took notice of the maturation in Parliament of Constitutional Instrument (CI) 109 which will regulate the conduct of the impending referendum scheduled for December 27, 2018.

By these two developments, the EC has a clear path to conduct the referendum in the affected parts of the country. The referendum will be the first of such under the country’s current democratic dispensation. The Center has also noted with gratification, the publication by government of the full report of the Justice Brobbey Committee following a directive by the President to that effect. This is consistent with the good governance practice of transparency and citizens’ right to public information.

Given the concerns and interests aroused since the announcement by government to create new regions, and recent media reports on reservations and opposition to the proposal, particularly in parts of the Volta and Northern regions of the country, CDD-Ghana is calling on the EC to step up public education and sensitization on the referendum, particularly with regards to voting arrangements and procedures, to enable qualified voters to make the right decisions.

The people in the affected areas have the right to know what their voting options (a Yes or No vote) mean and the full implications of either votes. In this regard, CDD-Ghana recognizes the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders, including civil society/community-based organizations, in carrying out peaceful sensitization activities.

CDD-Ghana, however, wants to caution government and its agencies against any interference in the referendum process which will undermine the integrity of the polls. In the next two weeks, as the nation prepares for the exercise, it is the expectation of the Center that the EC will manage the referendum process in accordance with the principles of free, fair and credible elections.

It is critical that the Commission collaborates with relevant security agencies to ensure that the environment of the referendum is without fear and intimidation, and that the results of the elections will be a true reflection of the people who took part in the elections. On this note, CDD-Ghana calls on the Ghana Police Service to ensure maximum protection for all citizens regardless of their position on the referendum issue.

Source : citinewsroom

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