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03.11.2006 Politics

Asamoah Boateng eyes Baah Wiredu’s seat?

By chronicle
Asamoah Boateng eyes Baah Wiredu’s seat?
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After two days of trying to break a deadlock in the election of a presiding member for this hot Asante-Akim North District Assembly, following the inauguration of the new assembly last Monday, no winner has emerged.

The assembly, which convened a meeting immediately after its inauguration to elect a presiding member, failed in its attempt after three rounds of voting, necessitating a reschedule of the meeting for the next day.

The situation was, however, no different the following day, even after the withdrawal of one of the contestants, Mr. Antwi Boasiako, which set the stage for a straight fight between Lydia Agyeman and Thomas Osei Bonsu.

This was despite the spirited and almost universal denunciation over attempts by the DCE to smuggle in the previous Presiding Member (PM), who has ruled the assembly for 16 years, quickly withdrew after the mood of the assembly and bitter exchanges over the local radio stations and other FM networks in Accra, squelched attempts to re-introduce Mr. George Kyei Baffour, who has grown immensely wealthy after years on the seat.

Another two rounds of voting could still not produce a winner as both contestants failed to secure 41 votes, being two-thirds of the 61-member assembly.

With the deadlock still not broken, the meeting was adjourned sine die pending the filing of fresh nominations.

The situation generated speculations that Mr George Kyei-Baffour is likely to file his nomination despite agitations by a cross-section of the public against his contesting the election.

Reports filtered in that the man who defeated him was threatening to resign over Kyei Baffour's re-entry to the assembly after he was thoroughly thrashed with over 600 votes margin. Honourable Kenneth Asiedu participated at the assembly but did not contest for the position of PM though his admirers are pushing him to consider the parliamentary seat of Mr. Baah Wiredu, the Minister of Finance.

Some of the old assembly members told The Chronicle that Mr. Asiedu was the class mate of Mr. Asamoah Boateng, who hails from Konongo and attended both primary and secondary schools, Konongo Odumase secondary school, with him here.

Speculation is rife that Asabee may be turning his eyes on the seat here because in actual fact this is the constituency he originally wanted but could not see his way clear to challenge Hon Baah Wiredu, who was very popular then, having soundly beaten his previous challenger, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Finance at the time in 1996.

Hon. Asamoah Boateng has been spending more time though his adopted constituency, Mfantseman East, have been seeing little of him. His constituency chairman, for example, is seriously at loggerheads with him; so are a bunch of other executives, but The Chronicle has learnt that he is determined to weigh in heavily with resources to crush any opposition.

A well known lawyer from Mankessim is putting finishing touches to launch a bid for the seat from Asabee, who is said to have grown wings and has failed to bring any development to this fishing community, despite his position, in addition of that he hardly visits the area these days, while the lawyer spends half of his time there and is at home with the people.

Asamoah Boateng had urged the assembly to ensure that a presiding member would be elected at its next sitting.

He said the delay in electing a presiding member would not only cripple the development of the district but also drain the resources of the assembly.

Mr Asamoah-Boateng, who was officially said to be on a working visit to Konongo, witnessed the election on the second day.
He expressed satisfaction about the election and called on the assembly members to reach a consensus as soon as possible to facilitate smooth running of the assembly.

It was a different story at Asante-Akim South, as the Assembly retained their PM, Mr Eric Aboagye on Monday after two rounds of voting at Juaso.

His only contestant, Mr Owusu Ansah, however, stepped down before the second round.

He polled 40 votes instead of the 41 needed to qualify him as a winner necessitating a second round.

But just as the second round was about to commence, Mr Owusu Ansah withdrew from the contest and urged the assembly to unanimously give Mr Aboagye the nod.

However, as the Standing Orders of the assembly demands, a second round of voting to confirm Mr Aboagye was conducted, which saw him polling 53 votes.

He commended Mr Ansah for demonstrating a high sense of maturity, which he said, did not only enhance the fledgling democracy of the country but also saved the assembly time and resource.

Dr. Lord Justice Gyamfi-Fenteng, the District Chief Executive (DCE), addressing the inaugural ceremony of the new assembly earlier, charged members to bring to bear the qualities they possessed, for which the electorate voted for them on the activities of the assembly.

He said the assembly was a frontline institution through which the people could participate actively in the development of their communities and urged them to effectively represent their electoral areas.

Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, Minister of Tourism and Diasporan Relations, who inaugurated the assembly on behalf of the President, charged district assemblies to depart from the over-reliance on the District Assemblies' Common Fund as well as HIPC and GETFund.

He exhorted district assemblies to focus on generating income locally and consider other sources of funds as complementary to their efforts.

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