Castle call torpedoes DCE’s vetting
The third voting process to either reject or confirm Hajia Farizana Ibrahim Bintu as District Chief Executive for Tain in Brong Ahafo region turned into confusion last Tuesday.
The President's nominee failed to secure two-thirds of the required total votes from the 46 Assembly members after two rounds of voting on the first scheduled date last week.
A new confirmation date was fixed for Tuesday April 15, for all the 46 assembly members to decide on the fate of the newly nominated DCE in the person of Hajia Bintu, but the anticipation of the Assembly members was not met. To the dismay of the members, the Deputy Regional Minister of Brong Ahafo, Nana Kwadwo Kwakye informed the house that a radio message has been received from the Chief of Staff stating that Hon. Farizana Ibrahim Bintu was nominated and confirmed as DCE in 2005, at Wenchi and that her appointment to Tain was a transfer, which does not require any confirmation but a continuation of her job. The confirmation process must therefore be stopped.
This assertion by the Deputy Minister infuriated the Assembly members, who thought it was an infringement on their rights to make their preferred choice to lead the district. The Member of Parliament of the area, Joe Danquah and the Presiding Member of the Assembly, Madam Lillian Serwaah, therefore led a crusade to protest against the orders alleged to have come from the Chief of Staff.
In a chaotic situation, some of the Assembly members left the hall to protest vehemently against the imposition of Hon. Farizana Bintu, which attracted the attention of the public who also rushed to the Tain District Assembly's premises to join in the protest.
Hon. Bintu, in an interview on a Sunyani-based radio station, Space FM, confirmed that she had been appointed and confirmed as the DCE for Tain, commending the President for the honour done her.
The Deputy Regional Minister also said that the initial order from the Local Government to conduct elections for confirmation was a mistake which the second order from the Chief of Staff has corrected, so Hon. Bintu remains the DCE for Tain District.
The MP, Joe Danquah has however, vowed to protest and even go to Court if Hon. Bintu remains the DCE on the orders from the Chief of Staff through a radio station, saying it is constitutionally wrong because District Chief Executives are not transferred from one District to another without the approval of the Assembly members.
He alleged that the so called Radio message was orchestrated by the Regional Minister, Ignatius Baffour Awuah who was trying to create confusion in the district by imposing Hajia Bintu on the people of Tain to their dissatisfaction.
The MP asked that if the Chief of Staff was to appoint the DCE to continue her work at the Tain district, then why did the letter from the Local Government Ministry instruct the Presiding member to fix a confirmation/election date for the 46 Assembly members to decide on her.
Again, he queried why the first election was allowed in the first place for the assembly members to vote against her nomination.
Hon. Joe Danquah alleged that the police were heckling him. He also claimed some unidentified men alleged to have been hired by Madam Bintu were also harassing him.
According to him, the Electoral officer for the district even failed to come to the function with the necessary voting materials which indicated that the whole thing was a set up.
The Presiding Member for the Assembly, Madam Lillian Serwaah also stated that she doubted the credibility of the said radio message, "because how can the Chief of Staff flout the Constitution and impose the DCE on the district".
She alleged that Hon. Bintu was not a voter in the district, knows nothing about the district and has a poor human relations and cannot help in the administration of the district.
Madam Serwaah added that the message was from the regional office but not the national level because she had a call from the Wenchi MCE, Nana Ata-Fena, saying that the Regional Minister had instructed her to postpone the election/confirmation date from April 15, which she refused because preparations had already been done. And also, most of the Assembly members would be coming from Accra, Kumasi and other places with the attendant transportation cost.
She said several threats and calls came from people at higher places, some threatening to sack all the government appointees at the Assembly, but she still maintained the initial April 15th date.