Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Akuse part of Manya Krobo - Supreme Court
June 14, 2012 (Page 3 Lead) The Supreme Court has put to rest a long-standing boundary dispute between the Greater Accra and the Eastern regions by declaring Akuse part of the Lower Manya District in the Eastern Region. 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 to place the Akuse Electoral Area under the Dangme West District in the Greater Accra Region, a move which infuriated the authorities and residents of the Manya Krobo Traditional Area. In its judgement at its sitting in Accra Wednesday, the highest court of the land declared as null and void the decision of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Subsidiary Legislation which placed the Akuse Electoral Area under the Dangme West District in the Greater Accra Region. It said Parliament was procedurally wrong in enacting the LI because the action contravened Article 11 (7) of the 1992 Constitution and subsequently declared the original version of the LI which placed Akuse under the Eastern Region as valid. 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. Following that decision, two individuals, Mr Charles Mate Kole and Nene Azago Kwesitsu I, in December 2010 sued the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Attorney-General on the grounds that LI 1983 sought to alter boundaries between the Greater Accra and the Eastern regions. The two, through their lawyer, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, contended that the Osukute, Bungalow, Akutua, Zongo New Town, Amedeka 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) were now part of the Dangme West District in the Greater Accra Region and that action, according to them, was unconstitutional. The court, presided over by Justice William Atuguba, upheld reliefs sought by the plaintiffs and, accordingly, declared as null and void the designation of Akuse as part of the Greater Accra Region. In a unanimous decision, the court declined to rule on a dispute raging between two chiefs connected to the boundary dispute. According to the court, it only had the power to deal with the constitutional aspect of the suit and emphasised that it was the regional houses of chiefs which had the mandate to determine chieftaincy matters. The applicants had, in the substantive matter, prayed the court to declare that the action to alter the boundaries between the two regions 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). They also pleaded with the 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. The plaintiffs also prayed the Supreme Court 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 related to the specification of the Osukute, Bungalow, Akutua, Zongo New Town, Amedeka and Salon Electoral areas as part of the Dangme West District. The Attorney-General, 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 also prayed the court to take into consideration the statute and social needs of the community, the economic exigencies of the 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.” Other members of the court were Prof Justice S. K. Date-Bah, Justice Julius Ansah, Justice Sophia Adinyira, Justice Jones Dotse, Justice Annin Yeboah, Justice P. Baffoe-Bonney, Justice N. S. Gbadegbe and Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo.