The Electoral Commission (EC) has proposed to create 117 more electoral areas in the Upper West Region as part of efforts by the electoral body to deepen democracy at the grassroots level.
The Commission has therefore initiated steps to engage stakeholders in all the 11 Municipal and districts in the region to solicit their inputs and contributions to guarantee successful demarcation of the new electoral zones.
Mr Azu Bosco Anyigire, the Upper West Regional Director of EC told traditional rulers, political party and national peace council representatives and other stakeholders at a forum on Monday in Wa that the exercise would help reduce conflicts and enhance effective democratic practices at the local levels.
“We are trying to bring democracy to the door steps of the people so that they [the people at the grassroots] can also take part in decision making at the district levels,” he said.
He said most of the areas had grown in terms of population size, hence the need to map out additional electoral spots to facilitate active participation of local people in decisions taking by their assemblies.
He cited Wa East as one of the places cut off and urged the stakeholders to help in coming out with names that would be acceptable to people in the proposed areas and help avoid conflict and litigation.
The Region currently has 293 electoral areas and with the proposed 117 additional ones, if accepted and approved, the number would shoot up to 410.
Meanwhile the regional EC has suspended issuances of Replaced Voter ID Cards until further notice.
“The reason is that all the VMS [Voter Management System] equipment have been sent to the Brong-Ahafo region to register voters for the referendum exercise in September this year,” Mr Anyigire.
Madam Hajia Sa-Adatu Maida, a Member of the EC who is in charge of the Upper West Region, encouraged the participants to contribute to the discussions and state their views clearly about the proposal made.
“It is possible that, during our discussions we may make changes to names of some Electoral Areas or merge some,” she said: “I implore you to be comfortable and make meaningful contributions that will further promote participatory democracy in this country”.
She added that inputs of the participants would be captured and implemented at the various districts of the in order to come out with remarkable output and appealed to assist the commission carry out one of its cardinal functions.
With the new proposal 10 electoral areas would be added to the existing 41 in Wa Municipal, 11 to 39 in Wa West, 15 to 40 in Wa East, 5 to 41 in Nadowli-Kaleo, 15 to 30 in Daffiama-Bussie-Issa and 14 to 51 in Jirapa Municipal.
Six electoral areas are also expected to be added to the prevailing 31 in the Lambussie district, 10 to 39 in Lawra, 9 to 34 in Nandom, 11 to 32 in Sissala West and 11 to 32 in Sissala East districts.
Similar exercises would be held in the other district assemblies to solicit views of community members on the proposal.