Press Conference in Dagbon
PRESS CONFERENCE ON THE APPOINTMENT OF DCEs AND DISTRICT ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS IN THE TAMALE AND YENDI DISTRICTS BY “DEMOCRACY WATCH”
Following the carnage in Yendi on 23rd March 2002 a State of Emergency was declared on the Dagbon state. It was understandable that it was later on lifted in almost all parts except in Tamale and Yendi Districts, with the reason of unsatisfactory security situation. The state of emergency denied the people the right to conduct District Assembly elections except in the areas where it was lifted earlier. It resulted to the incompleteness of the District Assemblies of Tamale and Yendi. By the constitution of Ghana, under Article 242, a District Assembly shall consist of:
· Elected persons from electoral areas within a district (Assembly Man/Woman);
· A member of parliament from constituencies that fall within the district; · The District Chief Executive; and · Other members not being more than thirty percent (30%) of all the members of the District Assembly (Government appointees)
Under this crisis situation, an Interim Management Committee was established to manage the Assemblies. The composition of the IMC is still questionable politically and traditionally. It reflected only activists of the ruling NPP and only a section of the Dagbon divide-the very problem that resulted in the state of emergency. Beside these, the IMC is not transparent and not monitored in their operations. It was a relief when the State of Emergency was lifted and the reason from the then Deputy Minister of Local Government Capt. (Rtd) Nkrabeah Effah Dartey was to allow us to have District Assembly elections. Unfortunately, the attention of the Government was drawn to Article 246, clause 1, which states:
“Election to the District Assembly shall be held every four years except that such elections and elections to Parliament shall be held at least six months apart”.
With this revelation, the people of Tamale and Yendi Districts understood why they waited without Districts Assemblies for five months to have parliamentary elections and another six months afterwards. They cannot understand why after satisfying this constitutional provision above, there is still feet-dragging attitude from Government and the Electoral Commission. Mr. Arhin of the Electoral Commission in an interview told Radio Diamond in Tamale that general District Assembly elections would be held next year July and it would therefore be expensive to conduct elections now in Tamale and Yendi, his personal opinion, though. Is it because it is the north or Dagbon? When there was a bye-election in the then Upper Denkyira constituency in the Central Region three months to the general elections, the Electoral Commission and Government found it necessary to serve the people there. In our situation five constituencies in two Districts are at stake. We expected the President, His Excellency J. A. Kufour, to have nominated DCEs for Tamale and Yendi only after District Assemblies were established. There was no need for the rush if we still have almost 50% of the Districts being without nominated DCEs, even though they have Assemblies and the appointment of a DCE can only be acceptable after an Assembly's approval. This is based on Article 243, Clause 1, which states:
“There shall be a DCE for every Districts who shall be appointed by the President with the prior approval of not less than two-thirds of members of the Assembly present and voting at the meeting.” We therefore call on the President to: · Withhold the nominations of Alhaji Iddrisu Adam and Alhaji Habib Tijani for Tamale and Yendi respectively, until the District Assemblies are in place for their approval; · Allow the Electoral Commission to conduct these District Assembly elections without any further delay. We do not want to believe that the delay is deliberate and calculated to continuously deny the people the right to self-determination.
Any attempt to use unconstitutional means to get these two persons into office without the prior approval of the people will be fiercely resisted by any means available in the constitution. We want peace in Tamale and Yendi.
Long live Tamale!
Long live Yendi!!
Long live Ghana!!!