Minister-designate for Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development Mr Dan Botwe has rubbished claims that he is to be blamed for the inability of residents in Santrokofi, Akpafu, Lolobi and Likpe (SALL) in the Oti Region to vote in the 2020 parliamentary election.
Some chiefs and people of SALL claimed they were not able to vote in the parliamentary election in the Hohoe Constituency in the Volta Region because they were allegedly forced to be part of the Oti Region during the creation of six new regions some two years ago.
According to them, they were not in favour of joining the new region if it meant being separated from the Hohoe municipality.
This, they claimed, was the reason why residents of Akpafu, then in the Hohoe Municipality, even allegedly boycotted the referendum that endorsed the creation of the Oti Region.
However, appearing before the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Monday, the Minister-designate for Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development insisted that such allegations were either “coming out from a deep misunderstanding or have no basis at all.”
Mr Dan Botwe, who spearheaded the creation of the new regions as the Minister for Regional Reorganisation and Development said there was no evidence of the lack of support for the new regions from the SALL area.
“It is never true that people from the Akpafu and Lolobi areas were not interested in being part of the Oti Region and were forced. It is totally untrue. Nothing supports that assertion,” he argued.
Mr. Botwe added that some of the SALL area complaints ought to be directed towards that 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.”
As to why the residents of SALL in the newly created Guan District were not given the opportunity to vote in parliamentary election, Mr Dan Botwe said his outfit was not to be blamed.
“Linking it to the voting; the ministry had nothing to do with who should vote in the presidential or parliamentary election. That is purely the work of the Electoral Commission,” he retorted when quizzed.
He however maintained that before the creation of districts and the elections, “it was clear they (SALL) were in the Oti Region.
“SALL was 100 percent in the Oti Region,” he stressed.