Dan Botwe, Member of Parliament for Okere and Minister-designate for Local Government and Rural Development, said he was not responsible for the disenfranchisement of some communities in the Oti Region in the 2020 parliamentary elections.
He rather called on persons who wanted to know why residents in Santrokofi, Akpafu, Lolobi and Likpe (SALL) in the Region could not vote in the parliamentary elections to direct their enquiries to the Electoral Commission (EC).
“The Ministry has nothing to do with the demarcating of constituencies for elections,” Botwe said, adding: “This is purely a matter for the EC.”
The SALL in the Guan District were not given the opportunity to vote in the parliamentary elections as there were issues on whether they were to vote at Jasikan or Hohoe. They were only able to vote in the Presidential elections.
The voters expressed disappointment in the government for failing to create a constituency for residents of the Guan District despite its creation two years ago.
Botwe explained to the Appointments Committee of Parliament, during his vetting on Tuesday, that at least the electorate in the named communities had polling stations on their voter identity cards, and voted in the presidential election.
He said the blame being put on the defunct Ministry of Regional Re-organisation, which he headed, for its inability to ensure the electorate in SALL voted stemmed from a deep misunderstanding with no basis.
“Linking it to the voting; the Ministry had nothing to do with who should vote in the presidential election. That is purely the work of the Electoral Commission (EC),” Botwe said.
He said complaints of who should belong to which region should be directed at the Commission of Inquiry that oversaw the new regions’ referendum.
“As soon as a Commission of Inquiry was established, the Ministry didn’t determine those who will be part of the new regions or will not be part. The Ministry doesn’t determine where the referendum will take place. It is the Commission,” Botwe said.
He refuted allegations that the new regions were created on tribal lines, saying in reference to multiple ethnic groups staying across different places in Ghana, “anybody stays anywhere.”
Botwe cautioned people who called themselves paramount chiefs without proper recourse to their jurisdictions to be mindful of the repercussions.
He called on political parties to be strong financially to reduce the monetisation of politics and agreed on the need to build consensus among the ministries to tackle environmental and sanitation issues.