The Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) Caucus in Parliament has complained about troubles in the approval process of the President’s nominees for the metropolitan, municipal and district chief executive (MMDCE) positions, stressing immediate interventions to prevent further chaos.
Acts of violence, brutalisation, and intimidation have characterised the approval of the MMDCEs in recent times, after their nomination by the President, and the Minority is accusing government officials and some agents, among others, of abusing the process and procedures of approval.
At a press conference at the Parliament House in Osu, Accra, the Minority, with reference to incidents at Assin South, Bibiano Anhwiaso, Sekyere Kumawu, Suaman, Awutu Senya West, Shama, Cape Coast, and Lawra, said those incidents, if not checked, could throw the country and its cherished democracy into anarchy.
Members from the Minority Side on the Parliamentary Committee on Local Governance and Rural Development, led by Mr Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuye, MP for Odododiodio and Ranking Member on the Committee, pledged to protect the sanctity of the local governance system.
Mr Vanderpuye said: “We shall protect the sanctity of our democracy and condemn in no uncertain terms actions of people who we see as “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
The Minority played video footages showing confusion and prevention of Mr Philip Basoah, MP for Kumawu in the Ashanti Region and some assembly members from entering a voting hall to vote to approve or reject a nominee.
There were other video footages that showed some re-appointed chief executives struggling their way through to be approved while other assembly-members were either given wrong dates, venues and times that deprived them of casting their votes for approval or rejection of the nominees.
The Minority further complained about last minute replacement of nominees in the Suaman and Awutu Senya West districts, in addition to the use of security personnel to intimidate voters, especially at the Sekyere/Kumawu areas.
And for Shama, the Minority noted that what made its “case more disturbing is that there was an impending court injunction on the process but the government and its agents disrespected the court and went ahead to organise that botched approval.”
The Minority wondered why there should be brouhaha over the approvals, following an eight-month long wait for the release of the names by the President, who explained that “the delay was to afford a wider consultation with chiefs and all stakeholders before the names were released.”
It promised to haul the District Commander of Police of the Kumawu Area to the Privileges Committee of Parliament, when the House resumes sitting, to explain why the Kumawu MP was prevented from exercising his franchise.
Mr Vanderpuye called on the President and the Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Decentralisation to order a re-run of the processes at Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai, Assin South, Sekyere Kumawu, and Cape Coast where assembly members were prevented from exercising their constitutional mandate and called for police investigation into the reported cases of abuse and intimidation.