Some assembly members of the Ada East District have initiated steps to annul the confirmation of Ms. Sarah Dugbakie Pobee as the District Chief Executive, claiming her election was fraudulent and fraught with irregularities.
The president’s nominee, who was rejected by the assembly on three consecutive times, secured 27 of the 36 votes cast on November 3, 2017 in an election that was fraught with alleged irregularities championed by some persons believed to be members of the Invisible Forces vigilante groups.
Despite protests from some members of the assembly, officials of the Electoral Commission went ahead to pronounce the nominee as duly confirmed, but some 17 members of the Assembly are now challenging the validity of the confirmation process.
In a petition jointly signed by the 17 assembly members and their Presiding Member, Simon Korblah Arthur, they catalogued a number of incidents which they argued, compromised the credibility of the election and as such, must not be made to hold.
“We would like to state in no uncertain terms that the declaration by the EC that the nominee is validly elected is fraudulent, condemnable and highly unacceptable,” they stated in the petition to President Nana Akufo Addo dated November 6, 2017.
They alleged that some perceived members of the Invisible Forces vigilante group, who claimed to be National Security operatives, took away the ballot box after voting ended.
After the ballot was cast, they claimed the supposed National Security operatives forced their way into the hall and snatched the ballot box, noting the “lights in the room were immediately turned off…Clearly, the shutting down of electricity was orchestrated to prevent the media from covering and revealing to the outside world, the flawed and shambolic proceedings”
The assembly members also accused the personnel of the security services including the BNI, of abdicating their duty on the day of the confirmation election, claiming they were there to “coerce the Presiding Member to change the venue chosen for the confirmation vote” for reasons that is unclear to them but those personnel alone.
“It was also an affront to our democracy that the Police allowed foreign elements to invade the premises meant for the vote,” they argued, adding the presence was “to intimidate and unlawfully pressure the assembly members to cast their ballots in a particular manner”.
Further, the assembly members claim they were denied access to be part of the counting process with the Regional Electoral officer insisted that “only agents of the nominee be present” which they protested.
According to them, after the ballot box was returned to the hall 45 minutes after it was taken away, the EC officer requested the Presiding Member to join in sorting out the cast ballot for counting to begin but he declined on grounds that the ballot box had been tempered with.
“Several other assembly members who were perceived to have voted ‘No’ were also met with brutalities by these men. The situation dispersed the assembly members from the hall,” they stated in the petition.
They said despite the numerous infractions and illegalities as well as their protest, the EC officer went ahead to sort and count the ballot in the absence of the agents of the district assembly and some assembly members.
In view of that, they said the Presiding Member refused to sign the declaration form but the EC officer went ahead to declare Ms Pobee as having been duly elected.
“This declaration cannot lawfully validate her securing a two-third majority vote of members of the assembly,” they stated in the petition, noting that all the 17 members voted against the nominee.
They consequently want the president to disregard the declaration since “it did not reflect what genuinely transpired in the voting process”
The incident, they said, undermines democratic ideals that the people of the assembly and for that matter the people of Ghana have chosen.
“Want the president not to swear in the nominee, Sarah Dugbakie Pobee as the duly elected DCE,” the appealed in the petition, adding “In the coming days, we shall take concrete steps to safeguard and protect the sanctity of our electoral process, electoral laws and our constitution”.
By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana