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A section of assembly members in the Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipal Assembly in the Western Region were on Friday allegedly prevented from taking part in the confirmation exercise of Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) nominee Benjamin Kessie.
The assembly members, who numbered 22, were reported to have been prevented from entering the voting grounds by heavily armed policemen “allegedly on orders from above”.
One of the affected, assembly member for Kwabedu Paa Kwesi Ephraim, in an interview with Connect FM explained that on Thursday they had information that a plan had been hatched to clandestinely confirm the nomination of Benjamin Kessie early morning the following day.
“We heard rumors [Thursday] evening that the confirmation will come off very early morning [Friday]. So, we called our Presiding Member and asked him about what we have heard. He told us that he has not signed any letter to warrant the exercise. So, any letter we see is not from him but we should go to the ground and see if indeed the exercise will come off. When we came to the venue this morning, we came to meet many heavily armed police men at the entrance. When we asked, we were told they were here for the confirmation exercise. So, we decided to enter since we ought to be part of the exercise but we were prevented from entering. Minutes after, we saw a bus full of government appointees and other assembly members coming. To our utmost surprise, the police ushered them in.”
Mr. Ephraim continued that to further prove that they were members of the assembly they showed their identification cards and letters inviting them to the previous confirmation exercise but that was not enough for the security men present.
“We managed to get some letters from our colleagues and showed them to the security men and still they will not allow us in. It turned into a scuffle and some of us were beaten and shoved away. We have everything on tape.”
Assembly member for Tebrebe Electoral Area Addison Sackey, who was also affected, claimed that the newly elected Presiding Member Emmanuel Gado was prevented from coming to the venue when he parried pressure on him to sign a letter to convey the meeting for the confirmation exercise.
“We have the recording of our telephone conversation with Presiding Member where he told us everything. How he was taken to Sekondi to be forced to sign letters which he refused and the order on him to feign sickness and not to come to the confirmation grounds,” he claimed.
According to him, when they attempted to complain to the Western Region Minister Kwabena Otchere Darko Mensah, who came to meet them at the venue, he snubbed them.
“We were here when the electoral officials also came. We explained to them about the current situation and why they cannot supervise the confirmation exercise. But strangely enough they did not mind us but proceeded to the grounds.”
Angered by the perceived illegal confirmation process, the affected assembly members marched to court to injunct Benjamin Kessie from holding himself as the MCE.
“We will injunct Mr. Kessie from holding himself as the MCE because the process that led to his confirmation was obviously illegal. We will also injunct the assembly from functioning because some members of the assembly participated in the illegality,” Mr. Addison Sackey said
The MCE nominee Benjamin Kessie was confirmed at the event by 90 per cent of members present to vote.
He had 19 Yes votes and 2 No votes. Twenty-one out of a total of 43 members of the assembly participated in the confirmation exercise.
Mr. Kessie only three days ago – Wednesday – was rejected by the Assembly.
Before his nomination, he was rejected three times by the assembly in his bid to become the Presiding Member.
Earlier, six groups in the Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipality had questioned the basis for the nomination of Mr. Kessie when he had been rejected three times by the very assembly he seeks to lead.
Mr. Kessie replaces Gilbert Kennedy Asmah, who was recently declared the best performing MMDCE in the Western Region.
By Eric Yaw Adjei|3news.com|Ghana