National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, has claimed that elected assembly members are being denied their constitutional right to endorse or reject persons nominated for the position of Municipal, Metropolitan and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) in the country.
Without mentioning the areas where these happenings are taking place, he alleged that in some areas, the military and other security officers are being used to block some assembly members from having access to the auditorium where the voting is taking place to perform their duties.
He made these allegations when the presidential candidate of the NDC in last year’s elections, Former President John Dramani Mahama met the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs as part of his thank you tour on Tuesday October 12.
He said “You recall that His Excellency President Akufo-Addo sometimes in the last term, proposed amendments to the Local government Act and proposed that the local government system should be partisan. Those of us here opposed vehemently that we will want to persevere the nonpartisan nature of our district assemblies. So, there was a very intense debate when a referendum was proposed and because of the position that we canvassed and convinced Ghanaians finally, the president had to withdraw and then referendum never took place.
“Recent development in the appointment and approval of MMDCEs vindicate our position that if we make local government system partisan we will further polarise this country and we will to be able to even put our citizens together to undertake development projects .
“Why am I saying so? Only last Sunday in one district assembly when 38 people were supposed to go and endorse municipal, chief executive on Sunday some government appointees were put together and one or two people were added and military and security agencies provided them escort to go and approve somebody who has been appointed as a DCE.
“The elected assembly members were prevented from exercising their constitutional right and this is a sad commentary for local governance which for me is the heart beat of the chiefs when it comes to the governance architecture of this country.
“It did not happen in that place alone, in several other places elected assembly members are prevented and because the clause says that two thirds present and voting so they will he elected members and cordoned off a few people and say they are the only people who came and they have voted and so somebody has been declared the DCE.
“I think we are bastardising our local government system and I will plead with the chiefs that in your deliberations take these matters into consideration because our democratic dispensation, the pillars upon which our democracy revolves is the decentralisation and the local government system of which the chiefs are part.”
Mr Ofosu Ampofo is not the only one making this claim.
Members of Parliament for Cape Coast North and Cape Coast South constituencies have also accused the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) of using security forces including thugs to intimidate Cape Coast Metropolitan Assembly (CCMA) members perceived to be members of the NDC to confirm the president’s nominee of Chief Executive.
According to the MPs, Kweku George Ricketts-Hagan of Cape Coast South and Kwamena Mintah Nyarku of Cape Coast North, the NPP have devised several means to ensure that Ernest Arthur is forcefully confirmed.
Mr Arthur, popularly known as Mayor 1, needed only four votes on Wednesday, October 6 in a second voting on his renomination to be confirmed Chief Executive.
But not even an impassioned gesture by the Central Region Minister, Marigold Assan, will move some assembly members to vote for him.
Others had accused NDC’s Ricketts-Hagan of masterminding his defeat.
He had polled 34 ‘Yes’ votes in the first voting on Monday, September 27, a marked departure from the 99 percent he polled in 2017 when he was nominated for the first time by the president.
Addressing journalists on Monday, October 11, the day initially rumoured for the third and final voting, the two NDC MPs said the two-time rejection of Mr Arthur is a clear indication that he is not wanted by the good people of Cape Coast as mayor.
“There is no law in the constitution that the President should re-present or renominate the candidate. However, the President in his prerogative can renominate a failed nominee,” former Deputy Finance Minister Ricketts-Hagan admitted.
“Mr Ernest Arthur has been nominated twice and twice have the people of Cape Coast rejected him through their assembly representatives. Cape Coast has refused emphatically for Mr Ernest Arthur to be their MCE after four or almost five years to continue as MCE and the assembly has reflected these sentiments of the people they represent.”
They claimed the NDC will resist all attempts by government to use institutions such as the police and NPP’s Invisible Forces to intimidate assembly members.
“We will make sure that nothing less than free and fair elections is what happens here in Cape Coast,” said Mr Mintah Nyarku.
They said any bloodshed in the ancient capital will be put on the head of the government.
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana