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05.12.2007 Regional News

Ashaiman, Adentan To Be Separate Municipalities

President J. A. Kufuor, in consultation with the Electoral Commission (EC), has replaced the Executive Instrument (EI) establishing the Adentan Assembly with another one creating the Ashaiman Municipal Assembly and the Adenta Municipal Assembly.

Local Government Minister, Kwadwo Adjei-Darko, who disclosed this to the Daily Graphic, said the Legislative Instrument (LI) establishing the new metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies had also been withdrawn from Parliament.

He said the President's decision to separate the two areas was in line with due process and demonstrated that Mr Kufuor was a listening President.

According to him, the withdrawal of the LI had given the government an opportunity to consider some areas of concern, with the view to addressing those concerns.
Explaining the rationale behind the withdrawal, Mr Adjei-Darko said it did not mean that the districts would no longer be created.

Rather, he said, it was because the ministry could not distribute enough copies of the LI to the Members of Parliament (MPs) nine days after laying it, contrary to parliamentary procedure which required copies to be distributed to all MPs two days after laying the LI.

He attributed the delay in the distribution of the copies to the inability of the Assembly Press to print enough copies of the LI because it was at the same time printing the budget statement.

Mr Adjei-Darko said he took the decision to withdraw the LI and re-lay it this week after discussions with the Parliamentary Subsidiary Legislation Committee.

Meanwhile, he said, following the withdrawal of the LI, the EC had despatched its officers to take another look at three places where there had been protests over the siting of the capitals of the new districts.

He said the ministry would wait for the advice of the EC before sending the LI back to Parliament, adding that the EC could not influence the decision of the government.

President Kufuor last month by an LI created 25 new districts, three municipalities and upgraded 26 districts to municipalities while Tema and Cape Coast have been raised to the status of metropolitan assemblies.

After the announcement, a former Minister of Local Government Kwamena Ahwoi, argued that the creation of the new districts, municipalities and metropolitan assemblies by the government was illegal since it was the EC which was mandated by the Constitution to demarcate and create new areas.

The issue also came up in Parliament, and the Minority in Parliament questioned the genuineness of the LI laid before the House which sought to give legal backing for the creation of the new districts and municipalities.

They expressed worry that though the instruments were not ready, they were laid before the House.

Majority Leader, Abraham Osei Aidoo, said the instruments were shown to him before they were laid before the House and that since they had already been laid, they could come into effect after 21 days.

Minority Leader, Alban Bagbin, however, disagreed with the claim and said since the instruments were not properly laid, they could not be effective after 21 days.

Story: Musah Yahaya Jafaru