A Supreme Court judge, Mr Justice William Atuguba, today suggested that the solution to the Akuse boundary dispute between the Greater Accra and Eastern Regions could be found in the examination of relevant local government legislations.
He, therefore, directed lawyers for parties in the boundary dispute at the Supreme Court to research into versions of Legislative Instrument from 1954 to date and address the court on it.
He made the suggestion when the matter was called at the court’s sitting in Accra today.
The case, which bordered on whether or not Akuse was part of the Greater Accra or Eastern Region was not heard because one of the panel members was out of the jurisdiction.
It was, therefore, adjourned to February 16, 2012.
There was heated argument between parties in the case outside the court premises after the case was adjourned. The parties, who mostly spoke in the local dialect Krobo swore to deal with each other when they reach the Akuse township.
Akuse has been at the centre of a dispute between the Dangme West District, now the Shai Osudoku District, in the Greater Accra Region and the Lower Manya Krobo District in the Eastern Region following the decision of the Parliamentary Committee on Subsidiary Legislation set up in 2010 to place the Akuse Electoral Area under the Dangme West District in the Greater Accra Region, a move which infuriated authorities and residents of the Manya Krobo Traditional Area.
Two individuals are challenging the creation and specification of the new electoral area by the Ministry of Local Government which was gazetted in November 2010.
Mr Charles Mate Kole and Nene Azago Kwesitsu I have sued the EC and the Attorney-General on the grounds that the Local Government (Creation of New District Electoral Areas and Designation of Units) Instrument, 2010 (LI 1983) sought to alter boundaries between the Greater Accra and the Eastern regions.
The two are contending that the Osukute, Bungalow, Akutua, Zongo New Town, Amedeka, Natiriku and Salon Electoral areas (previously part of the Lower Manya Krobo District in the Eastern Region, as per the specification made by CI 46 of 2004) are now part of the Dangme West District in the Greater Accra Region.
They are, accordingly, praying the court to declare that that action was in excess of the powers conferred on the Minister of Local Government by sections 3 and 4 of the Local Government Act, 1993 (Act 462).
In a writ filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by their lawyer, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, the plaintiffs are praying the Supreme Court to declare that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 241 (2) and Article 5 of the Constitution, Parliament acted in excess of its powers by approving, adopting and enacting LI 1983.
They are also praying the highest court of the land to declare as null and void and of no legal effect LI 1983 which eventually altered the boundaries between the Greater Accra and the Eastern regions, as well as declare as null and void and of no legal effect the second column of LI 1983 which relates to the specification of the Osukute, Bungalow, Akutua, Zongo New Town, Amedeka, Natiriku and Salon Electoral areas as part of the Dangme West District.
The plaintiffs are asking for an order restraining the EC from conducting elections or unit committee elections or exercising its powers to conduct elections in the affected towns pending the hearing and final determination of the merits of the instant action, as well as any further costs the court may deem fit.
The Attorney-General has, however, denied that the Minister of Local Government embarked on an exercise to alter boundaries between the Eastern and the Greater Accra regions.
The defendant is also praying the court to take into consideration the statute and social needs of the community, the economic exigencies of time and other factors, adding, “The Osudoku people need to keep their cultural identity as one people and the law must be used in the sense to further the cause of this unity and not to disintegrate them.”
In relation to this suit, the Chief of Akuse, Nene Teye Titiriku, the Akuse and Amedeka Residents Association and six former assembly members applied to be joined to the suit but the court struck out the names of the six assembly members and, accordingly, joined the names of the two others to the suit filed by Mr Kole and Nene Kwesitsu.
In November 2010, a Parliamentary Sub-Legislating Committee, acting on the Local Government (Creation of New District Electoral Areas and Designation of Units) Instrument, 2010 (LI 1983), realigned six electoral areas — Zongo New Town, Akutua, Osukute, Bungalow, Amedeka and Salon — at Akuse, originally part of the Lower Manya Krobo District in the Eastern Region, to Dangme West in the Greater Accra Region.