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21.08.2004 Politics

NGO seeks clarification on local elections in Tamale, Yendi

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Tamale, Aug. 21, GNA - A Tamale-based nongovernmental organisation (NGO) has appealed to the Electoral Commission (EC) to clarify the issue of the date for the municipal and district assembly election in Tamale and Yendi.

In a statement to the EC, the NGO, Centre for Human Rights Education and Advocacy said the clarification had become necessary due to the anxiety created by Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, Minister of the Interior.

The Minister said in a statement lifting the State of Emergency imposed on the Tamale Municipality and Yendi District that; "arrangements are being made for district level elections to be conducted in the Tamale Municipality and Yendi District within the next few weeks".

Quoting the 1992 Constitution, the statement signed by Mr Issah Mahmudu, Executive Director of the NGO, said Article 246 (1) states: ''Elections to the District Assemblies shall be held every four years except that such elections and elections to Parliament shall be held at least, six months apart.

"What Article 246 (1) seeks to do is to prohibit the holding of district assembly elections in Ghana at a period when it is less than six months to parliamentary elections.

"We are all aware that the period between August and December 2004 when parliamentary elections are to be held is less than six months", the statement said.

The NGO said: "It is our contention that district assembly elections cannot be held in any part of the country now, including Tamale and Yendi, until after the general elections in December 2004 since such elections, if held, will violate the provisions of Article 246 (1) of our Constitution..."

The statement said the Minister should have averted his mind to Article 246 (1) of the Constitution before making his statement. "It is true that the citizens of Tamale and Yendi are yearning to have the opportunity to exercise their democratic right of choosing their assembly members to represent them in the Assemblies.

"But with the statement of the Interior Minister coming at this crucial time and seemingly suggesting that elections are to be conducted within the next few weeks, we are really at a loss as to when the elections are actually going to be held", the statement said.

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