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Local assemblies: Mahama’s appointing authority challenged

President John Mahama’s authority to make certain number of appointments to district assemblies across the country has been challenged.

There were threats of court suits and injunctions in some assemblies where the Local Government Ministry supervised the swearing in of assembly and unit committee members elected in the September 1 delayed district level polls.

Local Government Act - 1993 (Act 462) Section 5 (1d) says “other persons not exceeding 30 per cent of the total membership of the Assembly appointed by the President in consultation with the traditional authorities and other interest groups in the district.”

The President’s own appointees constituting 30 per cent of each assembly were all scheduled to be sworn in today but some could not be sworn in after serious agitations about their appointment.

For instance, some aggrieved members of the Talensi constituency are expressing shock that the DCE for the area and the Regional minister went ahead to inaugurate the 30% nominated members of the assembly, despite a court junction served on the assembly this morning restraining it from carrying out the inauguration. 

A leader of the aggrieved members at the Talensi constituency, George Ayamboya who is also an elected member of the Talensi assembly, told journalists the DCE, Edward Awunore failed to do broad consultation before appointing people to the assembly.

The 30 percent are supposed to be technocrats who will fill in the gaps if the elected assembly and unit committee members do not have the necessary expertise needed to run the assembly effectively, he explained.

The appointees should include lawyers, health professionals, and engineers among other expertise. But none of the government appointees has any of the mentioned qualifications, he claimed.

“Consultation that took place before the nomination of these people were not properly done,” he said. 

The District Chief Executive for the area, Edward Awunore declined to speak on the matter but believed the issue can be resolved internally. 

At the East Akim Municipal Assembly in the Eastern Region, the Member of Parliament for Abuakwa South constituency Samuel Atta Akyea vehemently objected to what he perceived to be the blatant violation of the law by the President in appointing more assembly members than the law requires.

Per the MCE’s calculation, two Members of Parliament and the MCE should be added to the 43 elected members after which the 30 percent can be calculated.

However, according to Atta Akyea and some assembly members the MPs and the MCE should be excluded from the calculation.

The assembly should function on the basis of law, he said insisting that what transpired at the East Akim “is an illegality that can be challenged in court”.

But the MCE, Simon Peter Asilfi maintained that the number appointed was not more than required by law.

He therefore asked members who felt he was involved in an illegality to excuse themselves for the rest to be sworn-in so that they can challenge his action in court.

He told Joy News that after he gave them the options, none of the agitated members “walked out” of the swearing-in ceremony. However the assembly failed to elect a presiding member.

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