Political interests undermine election of PM in STMA, Ahanta West

The Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) and Ahanta West Municipal Assembly (AWMA) have both failed to elect Presiding Members (PM) after formal inauguration of the Assembly on Monday. After two rounds of voting, the nominees failed to secure the required two thirds-majority.

The assembly members are expected to vote again on the nominees in two weeks’ time.

Act 936 of the local Government Act required members present and voting to elect the PM by at least two-third majority.

The National Association of Local Government (NALAG) has called for a review of Article 244 of the 1992 constitution to allow for the election of PM for District, Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies (MMDCES) by a simple majority.

Timothy Ampem, PM Nominee

NALAG says the current nature of the law, which demands nominees to secure two-thirds majority votes, undermines the election process and makes it difficult for nominees to meet the requirement.

Information available to The Chronicle indicates that the composition of the Assembly, which appears to have been divided along political lines, mostly along the NPP and NDC lines, were the major reasons that led to the failure of the nominees in the two Assemblies to secure the two thirds majority.

In STMA for instance, this reporter gathered that the ruling party nominated one Napoleon Agyenim Oduro whilst the opposition NDC also nominated one Patrick Bimpong for the same position.

The former PM, John Buckman, who many thought could have easily sailed through given his relationship with the elected Assembly members, according to information, was forced to step down for Napoleon Agyenim Oduro. This was after the latter had picked up nomination forms to contest the PM position.

The STMA has total of 40 elected Assembly Members, 17 government appointees and five Members of Parliament (MPs), bringing the total to 62.

The MPs, however, do not have voting rights.

First round of voting saw Patrick Bimpong securing 22 votes whilst his main challenger Napoleon Agyenim Oduro secured 31 votes.

Second round of voting on the other hand saw Napoleon Oduro increase his votes by 2 whilst his contender, Patrick Bimpong, reduced his vote by 1. None of the two were able to secure two thirds majority of 36 votes to win the race.

It is not known whether or not in the next election, the aforementioned nominees would be maintained to go for another round.

However, what is known is that, the opposition elected Assembly Members were ready to compromise their stand in the next election.

Former PM Joseph Baidoo and PM nominee

An elected Assembly Member belonging to the opposing side told this reporter in a telephone interview that they have the majority of elected Assembly Members in the House, but they are ready to compromise their stance, provided the Assembly was ready to meet them.

According to the elected Assembly Member who did not want to be named, his side have put forward two demands to the Assembly.

The demands, he mentioned, are for the PM position to go to an elected Member of the House and again reward the opposing side with membership on sub committees.

“If they are able to meet our demands as we have highlighted and forwarded to them, we are also ready to elect their nominee, else we will go for marathon election and no one would come out elected”.

He argued because they have majority of the elected members (20) on their side, there was no way they (other side) could have elected their preferred PM.

In the Ahanta West Municipality, the former Presiding Member, Joseph Baidoo and one Timothy Ampem also slugged it out for the PM position.

But two rounds of voting saw the two nominees failing to secure the required two thirds majority votes.

In the first round of voting, former PM Joseph Baidoo secured 32 votes whilst his contender secured 19 votes.

In the second round of voting however, former PM got his votes slashed by one whilst his contender gained two additional votes.


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