Twenty-two elected Assembly members of Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipal Assembly who were averted by the Police from exercising their franchise during the confirmation of the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr Benjamin Kessie have organized a press briefing to register their displeasure.
Addressing the media, the spokesperson for the group, Mr Frank Justin Afful said “the election on which the nominee was confirmed on May 22, 2020, was unconstitutional since it did not follow the legal process as prescribed by the local government Act, 2016 Act 936 as amended.
“Since we were denied to perform our legitimate duties and to exercise our constitutional rights, we do not recognize Mr Kessie as the legal confirmed MCE for the Tarkwa Nsuaem”, he emphasized.
Mr Afful who doubles as the assembly member for Benso Electoral Area said “we have therefore served notice and have begun consultation with our lawyers and shall soon take legal action against Mr Kessie”.
He further stated that they have petitioned the President, Chief Justice, Speaker of Parliament, Majority and Minority leaders of Parliament, Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice and the Local Government Minister for corporate action to be taken on the matter.
According to him, Mr Kessie who was nominated by the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to replace Mr Gilbert Kennedy Asmah, the former MCE whose appointment was revoked failed to secure the two-thirds majority votes required of him to become a victor, after first round of voting, held at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) auditorium at Tarkwa on May 20, 2020.
Out of the 42 total ballot cast by the Assembly members present, 22 approved his nomination by voting yes, while 20 voted no.
The Electoral Commission, that supervised the exercise then scheduled another voting to be held within ten days, he stated.
Mr Afful noted that in the late hours of May 21, this year, they had a tip-off that a secret meeting would be convened in the early hours of the following day to confirm the President’s nominee, Mr Kessie.
He said after receiving the information they contacted the Presiding Member, Mr Emmanuel Yalmon Gado who denied any knowledge of the said meeting.
On Friday, May 22, around 0600 hours, the aggrieved assembly members gathered at the forecourt of the former Tarkwa-Nsuaem Assembly hall as that was the venue scheduled for the meeting, he added
The spokesperson for the group said while waiting for the hall to be opened, they saw police vehicles with heavily armed police officers and men numbering over one hundred and were stationed at the entrance and vantage points of the assembly hall.
“At around 7:30 am, we saw some of our colleagues made up of eight elected members and 13 government appointees in the company of the Member of Parliament for Tarkwa-Nsuaem constituency, Mr George Mireku Duker and the Western Regional Minister, Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah arrived at the venue and were immediately ushered into the hall by the police officers” he claimed.
Mr Afful said when they attempted to access the venue, the duty bearers denied them with the excuse that they did not have invitation letters permitting them to enter the premises.
“Because we were determined to take part in the programme, one of us had access to a copy of the letter inviting them to the meeting and we made photocopies and distributed among the affected assembly members but the police officers again said they have been ordered from above not to allow us into the hall’ he explained.
“The meeting that was held to endorse Mr Kessie, was illegitimate because the purported letters, which were distributed among some members of the assembly were not signed by the presiding member who by law was the only person mandated to sign letters inviting members into a meeting except for the inaugural meeting” Mr Afful pointed out.