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23.04.2009 Politics

Blay`s withdrawal sparks mixed reaction

By Ivy Benson - Ghanaian Chronicle
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The withdrawal of Mr. Stephen Blay as District Chief Executive (DCE) of the Jomoro district by President John Evans Atta Mills has sparked series of allegations directed at Hon. Lee Ocran, the former Member of Parliament (MP) for the area.

Citizens and opinion leaders of the district have accused the immediate past MP for Jomoro constituency, for causing the withdrawal of Mr. Stephen Blay, who has been touted as an industrious and hard working gentleman with in-depth experience in local governance and a member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The opinion leaders, in an interview with The Chronicle, expressed their disgust towards the alleged conduct of the former MP, who was supposed to have chaired the wedding ceremony of Mr. Stephen Blay in 2003.

They were, therefore, surprised at the unfortunate development alleged to have been orchestrated by Hon. Lee Ocran, stressing that the country had lost the service of a man with an impressive experience and ability to manage the Jomoro district effectively.

However, Hon. Ocran in an interview denied that he was behind the withdrawal of Mr. Stephen Blay as DCE of the area, adding that he had nothing to say to those who were making the allegations.

According to him, the President acted by his own instincts, following the response he had after nominating Mr. Stephen Blay as DCE for the area.

Additionally, the former MP indicated that it was true that he chaired Mr. Stephen Blay's wedding in 2003, which was nothing unusual, since as the then incumbent MP, anyone could invite him to do so at any august ceremony. He however, emphasized that Blay was not a member of the NDC.

In a resolution reached by the opinion leaders, numbering about fifteen and including assembly members and student leaders from the district, and sent to the President with copies made to the Chief of Staff, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, the National Chairman of the NDC, the Regional chairman of the NDC and the Western Regional Minister, condemned the media publications that emanated from the district in connection to the issue.

They indicated that the publications against Mr. Stephen Blay were in bad faith, as it never reflected what transpired at Jomoro. “It was a stage act calculated at destroying the reputation of Mr. Stephen Blay, in order to allow a section of the executives to get their favourite appointed,” the opinion leaders noted.

It was their opinion that Mr. Stephen Blay enjoys the total support of the majority of the people of Jomoro as his nomination was received with cheers and jubilation.

Narrating the processes Mr. Blay went through before applying for the DCE position, the resolution indicated that having worked as a civil servant in the local government structure, the former nominee rose to the rank of a Deputy District Coordinating Director and was informed by the constituency vice chairman of the NDC, Mr. Anthony Kwofie to collect the DCE application for Tarkoradi, after the former had earlier communicated his intention to contest the said position.

The resolution further intimated that Mr. Blay's application form was duly endorsed by the NDC constituency chairman, Mr. Joseph Blay Mensah, in the presence of Messers Joseph Takyie Mensah and Anthony Benle Armah, the organizer and youth organizer, respectively affirming the applicant's membership of the party and vouching for his competence.

The proponents of the resolution could not fathom how the executives of the party could rescind their earlier consent and rather question the competence of the applicant, as well as claim that he was not a member of the party.

The resolution noted that Mr. Stephen Blay followed laid down procedures and was duly selected on merit as it appealed to the President to disregard the petition filed against the nominee, since majority of residents as well as party faithful were pleased with his nomination.

Nontheless, Mr. J.B. Mensah vehemently denied that Mr. Stephen Blay was a member of the NDC, when The Chronicle spoke to him in an interview.

The NDC constituency chairman insisted that the recent withdrawal of Mr. Blay by the President sparked jubilation among member of the party in the entire district.

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