In-camera hearings of the Commission of Inquiry into the creation of new regions began on Tuesday with petitioners from the Western Region.
The hearings by the Justice Allan Brobbey Commission form part of the processes towards the creation of the new regions.
The in-camera hearings are expected to end on December 5, 2017.
Yesterday’s hearing was attended by chiefs and elders from the Western Region, led by the Paramount Chief of the Ahwiaso Traditional Area and President of the Western Regional House of Chiefs, Ogyeahohuo Yaw Gyebi, present and past District Chief Executives (DCEs) and Members of Parliament (MPs) from the region.
Briefing newsmen before the hearings commenced, Mr Justice Stephen Allan Brobbey said petitioners from the Volta Region would appear before the commission today while petitioners from the Brong Ahafo Region would take their turn on Thursday, November 23 and Tuesday, November 28, 2017.
That, he said, would be followed by petitioners from the Northern Region on November 29, 2017 who would conclude the in-camera hearings on December 5, 2017.
He said the commission would hold briefings to update the media on some of the issues at the in-camera hearings.
“We will hear the petitions in camera to make way for the chiefs and elders who constitute the bulk of the petitioners to feel free to give information on their demands. This does not mean we do not need the media, we do, but when the time comes for the in-camera hearing, the media and other members of the public will have to excuse us,” Mr Justice Brobbey explained.
He said the petitioners could make their case through spokespersons of not more than three.
He noted that regional hearings would also be held at a later date to pave way for members of the public from the respective regions to also make their case.
The commission, according to Justice Brobbey, would hold other fora in Accra for further contribution of members of the public after the regional hearings.
Commission of Enquiry
On October 19, 2017, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo inaugurated a nine-member Commission of Enquiry under the chairmanship of Mr Justice Stephen Allan Brobbey to review the petitions for the creation of new regions.
The other members include former Government Statistician, Dr Grace Bediako; AMEER, Missionary in Charge, Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission in Ghana, Maulvi Mohammed Bin-Salih; former Vice Chancellor, KNUST, Prof. Kwasi Kwafo Adarkwa, and a Local Governance expert, Ms Gladys Gillian Naadu Tetteh.
The rest are a retired Director of Education, Mr Robert Ajene; Senior Research Fellow, University of Cape Coast, Dr David Wellington Essaw; Institute of Statistical, Social & Economic Research /Director, Centre for Urban Management Studies, University of Ghana, Prof. George Owusu, and a Legal Practitioner, Ms Josephine Hughes.
The commission is expected to present its report to the President within six months.
Per Article 5 of the 1992 Constitution, the President may by a Constitutional Instrument (CI) create a new region, alter the boundaries of a region or provide for the merger of two or more regions.
The President, upon the receipt of petitions to that effect, will, on the advice of the Council of State, appoint a Commission of Inquiry to look into the demand and make recommendations on all the factors involved in the creation, alteration of boundaries or the merger of two or more regions.
Presently, there are 10 regions in the country with the Upper West Region being the last to be created when the then Upper Region was divided into Upper East and Upper West regions in December 1982.