By: Ewoenam Kpodo | Voltaonlinegh.com |
A senior research fellow with Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), Dr Kwesi Jonah has charged government to protect “No Campaigners” in the affected areas earmarked for the creation of six new regions to ensure smooth process leading to the referendum scheduled for December 27.
Dr Jonah observed that both those who are campaigning for and against the proposed additional regions, must be given the free space to convince people to either vote ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ without people being coerced to vote against their wish.
His comment was in reaction to that of the Minister of Regional Reorganisation and Development, Mr Dan Botwe, suggesting government’s neutrality in the entire process of new regions creation, during a panel discussion on the topic of Creation of New Regions on “We the People” show on Ghana Television (GTV) on Thursday between 8:00-9:00pm.
The maiden show which was moderated by the Executive Director of Institute of Democratic Governance, Dr Emmanuel Akwettey had the two panelists and some members of Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) including Volta-GJA Chairman, Mr Kafui A.B. Kanyi invited to the studio to partake in the discussion.
Dr Jonah said there had been few reports in the media suggesting acts of intimidation against people perceived to be opposing the creation of the new regions in the affected areas and mentioned that there was still the likelihood of opponents in these areas becoming targets, noting, the onus lied on government to put in measures to prevent such from happening.
According to him, proponents and opponents alike have rights to freedom of speech under the laws of this country and government cannot afford to be “neutral” when the issue of protection of rights of the citizenry comes up.
The “We the People” show is part of the GJA’s 18-month project with funding from STAR-Ghana dubbed “Enhanced Media-CSO Partnership for Inclusive Local Governance” aimed at helping the citizenry understand the essence of participation in the local governance process.