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Brong-Ahafo: varied opinions expressed in referendum

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Residents in the Brong-Ahafo Regional capital, Sunyani, have expressed varied opinions over the on-going referendum to carve out the Bono East and Ahafo Regions from the existing Brong-Ahafo Region.

Some of the local residents say they are unhappy and disappointed in the Electoral Commission (EC) over the entire voting pattern because they expected all eligible voters in the Brong-Ahafo Region to participate.

In a random interview in Sunyani on Thursday, Agyemang Kodom, a National Service personnel said it was imperative for the EC to do broad consultations and allowed all eligible voters in Brong-Ahafo to vote and decide whether the splitting of the Region was useful.

The EC is conducting and supervising the referendum exercise going on smoothly in parts of the Brong-Ahafo, which is expected to end by 1700 hours to determine the creation of the Bono East and Ahafo Regions.

As required by the constitution, 50 per cent of eligible voters must vote, and 80 per cent ‘Yes’ votes must be achieved to pave way for the creation of the additional regions.

Others also noted that it would be difficult for the referendum areas to obtain the required percentage of votes if all eligible voters in the Brong-Ahafo were allowed to participate in the exercise.

This is because some people still did not understand reasons behind the splitting of the regions, and would consequently vote “No” to block the split.

Mr Charles Ansu Kumi, a staff of Ghana COCOBOD noted that, government had spent huge resources towards the exercise and voting “No” would be a great loss to the nation.

He said education on the exercise was poor and called for intensified public education for people to come out in their numbers to vote.

Mr Kwadwo Badu, a teacher said the creation of the new regions was not necessary, describing the process as waste of money and national resources.

Instead, he said, the government should concentrate on job creation to bridge the existing gap between the rich and the poor in society.

That notwithstanding, he underscored the need for all voters in the region to take part in the historic event to enhance and deepen Ghana’s democracy.

“If I was giving the opportunity I will vote “yes” because the creation of new regions will push forward infrastructural development and provide numerous job opportunities for young people”, says Mr Daniel Atsu, a mobile phone repairer.

He urged the eligible voters in the referendum areas to come out in their numbers to vote for the anticipated results.

Madam Bernice Kyeremaah, a bread seller was of the view that the creation of the new regions would not add anything significant to the country’s development processes.

According to her, successive governments had failed the people and denied them basic access to healthcare, water and social infrastructure, but commended the government for some of its social intervention programmes.

Mrs Ellen Pokuaa, a banker, lauded the government for fulfilling another 2016 campaign promise of facilitating the creation of the additional regions, as it would facilitate infrastructural development in other parts of Brong-Ahafo.

A mobile money vendor, Joseph Opoku, said though the creation of the region was laudable, it was his expectation that Brong-Ahafo was split into two instead of three regions.

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