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29.09.2016 Editorial

Otumfuo’s intervention & amendment of the Local Gov’t Act

By Ghanaian Chronicle
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The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, according to graphiconeline.com, failed to elect a Presiding Member (PM) for the fifth time, despite the Assembly Member for Suame, Nana Kofi Senya, standing alone.

Nana Senya and the Adumhene, Nana Baffour Agyei Kesse, who is a government appointee, have contested for the past four times, but none of them was able to secure the two-thirds majority vote.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the report continued, the Adumhene stepped down for Nana Senya, but the members had to still vote ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ to either confirm him or not.

In a brief speech before the votes were cast, Nana Kesse explained that he was stepping down in the interest of peace, and to ensure development in Kumasi, which has been stalled for almost a year.

Despite this concession, Nana Senya could still not get the constitutionally required two-thirds majority. He secured 62 'yes' votes, with 65 voting against him.

The Chronicle is worried over the development going on in the Kumasi Assembly, and calls on the Overlord of the land, Otumfuo Osei Tutu Ababio, to intervene.

The local government concept was fashioned out to help in the rapid development of the local communities. It is, therefore, the duty of every assembly to come out with policies that would help it raise taxes to execute developmental projects.

But the assembly can only meet to take this decision, after its members have been summoned by the Presiding Member.

Local Government Act-1993 (Act 462) states: “The Presiding Member shall convene and preside over the meetings of the Assembly, and perform such other functions as may be prescribed by law.”

This means that the assembly members cannot meet to take any decision until they have been summoned by the Presiding Member, as we earlier alluded to.

With this unending battle over who should preside over the assembly, how can any decision be taken to fast track the development of the Kumasi Metropolis?

It is being alleged that politics is playing a back role in the whole drama over the election of the PM.

Nana Kofi Senya, it is being alleged, has sympathy towards the New Patriotic Party (NPP) whilst Nana Baffour Agyei Kesse, the Adumhene supports the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).

As a result, votes are cast purely on partisan lines without looking at the overall interest of the assembly.

Meanwhile, per the Local Government Act, business of the assembly is to be conducted on non-partisan basis.

Nana Senya had already made a series of allegations against the administration of the former mayor, Kojo Bonsu, which if true, could have been avoided, had members of the assembly decided to do away with partisanship and voted to elect a Presiding Member.

As it stands now, it is only Otumfuo who can call the assembly members to order, and that is why The Chronicle is appealing to the Ashanti King to immediately intervene and resolve the stalemate.

Whilst appealing to Otumfuo to resolve the issue, The Chronicle thinks the time has come for the government and Parliament to consider the possibility of amending the Local Government Act to make the election of Presiding Members and District Chief Executives by a simple majority. This law has been in existence since 1993, and has, therefore, reached its maturity state.

Looking at the partisan nature of the various assemblies, it is no more advisable for this law to continue to operate – it is like a square peg in a round hole.

The assemblies should be allowed to vote and elect their DCEs and PMs by simple majority and eliminate the current restrictions.

At the moment, this is what the country needs, if we are to ensure the rapid development of all corners.

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