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05.10.2004 Regional News

Blows at Tolon/Kumbungu District Assembly

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... as members fail to elect PM Tolon (NR), Oct. 5, GNA - Members of the Tolon/Kumbungu District Assembly on Tuesday exchanged blows in the Assembly Hall when the 61-member House failed in their fourth attempt to elect their Presiding Member (PM).

The presence of Mr Ernest Debrah, Northern Regional Minister, could not influence the outcome and he had to leave before things came to a head. Mr Wahab Suhiyini believed to be a member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Mr Huudu Somani, believed to belong to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have been contesting for the position and the House has been voting on party lines, making it difficult for any of the contestants to obtain the two-thirds of the votes cast.

The whole confusion started when Mr Debrah proposed that if the House failed to elect the Presiding Member then the two contestants should be disqualified for fresh nominations since the Assembly could not continue to function without a PM.

Mr Suhiyini supported what the Regional Minister had said but some members disagreed saying it was constitutionally wrong to disqualify the two unless they opted out themselves.

Mr Sumani Mahamadu Abukari, a Member, moved a motion, saying that it was unconstitutional and wanted to explain but some members would not allow him and insisted that he should allow some one else to second his motion.

At that stage Mr Debrah said: "I would have to leave you people to deliberate while I inspect some projects and come back." He walked out of the hall in the company of the District Chief Executive, Mr Abubakari Baako Alhassan.

Soon after the Minister left the hall, some of the members moved to the podium in an attempt to prevent Mr Abukari from speaking and this brought almost all the members to their feet and they started raining insults and blowing each other.

The Tamale Police, under the command of the Metropolitan Police Commander, Mr A. A. Adjei brought the situation under control in the hall but some members continued the fight outside.

Mr Michael Opoku-Nkansah, the Tolon/Kumbungu District Coordinating Director had to adjourn the meeting without fixing a new date for the election.

"Honourable members, I can not guarantee your security here so the meeting is adjourned indefinitely" he said and went out.

Earlier, the Minister had pleaded with members to consider his presence and try to choose the PM so that he would not be embarrassed and advised them to forget about politics and elect the PM so that together they would plan for the development of the area.

Mr Abdul Razak A. Umar, a Member, told the Minister that what the House wanted was a balance of power, indicating that since the DCE was from Tolon, the Presiding Member should come from Kumbungu.

He said some Members had entrenched position that a member from Kumbungu should be the PM and that they would not vote for the NPP member.

The 61-Member House had 32 members voting for Mr Somani while the remaining 29 voted for Mr Suhiyini. Voting had followed the same pattern in the previous three attempts. 05 Oct. 04

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