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Assembly Polls Face Setback

The fate of the forthcoming metropolitan, municipal and district assembly elections is to be decided today in a court of competent jurisdiction as the Electoral Commission prays the court to waive an injunction restraining it from using ballot boxes containing documents and materials for the December 2004 General elections.

Reports reaching us indicate that there is an injunction in court, which bars the EC from using ballot boxes. The opposition NDC brought the case in the aftermath of the 2004 general elections.

The EC says it has positioned itself for a legal battle over the issue in court today and hopes for positive outcome to enable it use the ballot boxes for the imminent district level polls.

Background

An Accra Fast Track High Court last year placed the injunction restraining the Electoral Commission from destroying documents and materials for the December 7 Presidential Elections pending the determination of a case before it.

It further ordered the EC to retain in its custody all documents and materials forwarded to it in respect of the elections.

The NDC’s Rojo Mettle-Nunoo, a former MP for Anlo, Kofi Portuphy, and retired Squadron Leader Clend Sowu brought the case against the EC. Squadron leader Sowu confirmed the impending legal battle with the EC to JOY News, an Accra-based radio station.

Meanwhile the question remains as to how the Electoral Commission conducted bye-elections in the Asawaase, Tamale Central and Odododiodio constituencies with its ballot boxes locked up in court.


Update
EC Still Uncertain Over District Polls
An Accra court has deferred its decision to next week to rule whether the Electoral Commission could go ahead to use ballot boxes for the September 12 metropolitan, municipal and district as well as unit committee elections.

The Commissioner of the EC, Mr Afari-Gyan was in court today to present arguments in favour of a waiver of an injunction on the use of ballot boxes.

An Accra Fast Track High Court last year placed an injunction restraining the Electoral Commission from destroying documents and materials for the December 7 Presidential Elections pending the determination of a case contesting the outcome of the polls.

It further ordered the EC to retain all documents and materials forwarded to it in respect of the elections.

The injunction, bars the EC from using the ballot boxes used in the conduct of the 2004 general elections.

Some members of the opposition NDC – Retired Squadron leader Clend Sowu, Rojo Mettle-Nunoo and Kofi Portuphy brought the case against the Commission in the aftermath of the 2004 general elections.

The EC is asking the court to allow the use of the ballot boxes for the next month’s district level election, saying that can be done without tampering with evidence for the pending case.

Retired Squadron leader Sowu said they do not trust the EC to guarantee the safety of the ballots if the court waives the injunction and allows them use of the boxes.

Retired Squadron leader Clend Sowu is one of the three people who have brought the case against the EC.

Source: Joy FM


Nyariga: Assembly Members Must be Accountable to Peopole
 
The Assemblyman for Nyariga Electoral Area in the Upper East Region Mr John Akaribo has appealed to the electorate to always insist that their representatives accounted for their stewardship, saying this would ensure transparency and make leaders more responsible.

Mr Akaribo, who had held the office for 12 years, was speaking at a meeting with residents of Nyariga, during which he reviewed his performances as their representative in the district assembly.

The Assemblyman, who announced that he was stepping down, said it was very crucial for all leaders, including assembly members to render account for their performances to their electorate for their assessment and impressed on his colleague assembly members to adopt the practice.

Mentioning some achievement during his tenure, Mr Akaribo said the first primary school in the area was established under his leadership.

He said under his leadership, the first girls’ junior secondary school in the area was established to enhance the girl-child education. Mr Akaribo said a modern community clinic had also been constructed with funding from the Japan Embassy, which was currently functioning with a resident midwife and nurses.

In a word of caution to aspiring assembly members, Mr Akaribo said the Assembly was not an employment institution but "a place where development oriented people met with vision and mission to deliberate and sacrifice for the sake of development."

He appealed to the aspirants to campaign on issues and development devoid of insults and character assassination.  He also urged the people not to vote on the basis of partisan politics or discriminate against sex or physical disability.



Odumase-Krobo: Manya Assembly Members Unhappy
 
Members of the Manya Krobo District Assembly of the Eastern region were disappointed when they were informed that they had to go home and come for half of their promised five million cedis ex-gratia award on September 5 and the other half on September 15, this year.

Many of the members insisted that, at least, part of the ex-gratia be paid to them before the dissolution of the Assembly, else the dissolution of the assembly be adjourned to September 5, when the first instalment for their ex-gratia would be paid.

The highly contentious issue, which came up the last Ordinary Meeting of Assembly at Odumase-Krobo, led some to suggest that the District Chief Executive and his administrators should go to the bank and raise at least one million cedis for each member before the dissolution of the assembly.

During the debate, a suggestion by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Lower Manya, Mr Michael Nyaunu, that the Assembly should provide post-dated cheques to the members to be cashed later was, however, over-ruled by the Presiding Member of the Assembly, Mr Emmanuel Agyarku, who argued that the assembly had precedents, where the assemblies were dissolved before ex-gratia awards were paid to members.

Resolution

The debate was eventually resolved, when the assembly voted by 45 votes to seven to defeat a motion by the Assemblyman for Kpong Zongo, Alhaji Mosawudu Abdulai, that the assembly be dissolved for members to collect their ex-gratia award at the dates specified.

The debate started, when the Deputy Co-ordinating Director of the Assembly, Mr Francis Owusu-Ansah, informed the members that the Management Committee had accepted the decision of a special committee of the assembly to pay each member of the Assembly an ex-gratia of five million cedis.

He explained that because of the difficulty of the assembly in mobilizing the total amount of 360 million cedis to pay the awards of the 72 assembly members, it was decided to pay the ex-gratia award in two instalments.

Earlier in a welcome address, the District Chief Executive, Mr David Sackitey-Asare, expressed his appreciation to the members for their contributions towards the execution of 204 projects in the district, during the four years that they were in office.

He also thanked the members for their approval for the construction of a sports stadium and a new office complex for the Assembly.

Mr Sackitey-Asare informed the members that, the Assembly had distributed 20 outboard motors costing 23.3 million cedis to the fisher folks along the Volta Lake at Akateng and had also taken delivery of three tractors to support agriculture in the district.

He announced that an office accommodation had also been acquired for the establishment of a fire station at Asesewa and that an ambulance had been allocated to the District Office of the Fire Service and additional one was to be allocated to support health delivery in the district.

The Presiding Member, Mr Agyarku thanked the members for their support and said the challenge facing the district was how to resolve the issue on the status of Natriku and Akuse.

He expressed the hope that in the near future the "truth" about the rightful owner of the towns would be resolved for Manya Krobo to forge ahead.



BA: Assembly Members Call for Support
 
The Assembly Member for Bredi Number Two in Nkoranza Mr Ronald Azapa has called on the electorate to assess his performance and vote massively to retain him in the forthcoming district assembly elections.

He said this would enable him to continue to assist them to initiate more development programmes in the electoral area to help improve their living standards. The Assembly Member told the Ghana News Agency he enjoyed the full support of the district assembly during his tenure, culminating in the provision of boreholes at Pruso, Nsunensa, Beboano, Dwenewoho and Makyinmabre.

Mr Azapa said plans were underway to construct more boreholes at Amponsakrom Number One and Number Two, which when completed would mean the people would no longer experience any water problem.

He said he had organised the people to start a basic school at Amponsakrom and promised to liase with the district education directorate for its opening. He added during his tenure the people of Nsunensa had a community clinic, which was jointly constructed by the Methodist Church and the District Assembly.

In another development Mr Appiah Issah, Assembly Member for Asonkwaa in Nkoranza has promised to relentlessly pursue programmes towards the speedy development of the areas if he was retained in the elections.

Recounting his performance in an interaction with a cross-section of the people, the Assembly Member said he ensured the regular maintenance of roads in the area, which had facilitated the movement of the people and their goods to marketing centres.

Mr Issah said two boreholes at Asonkwaa, which had broken down were put to use again during his tenure in office and expressed appreciation for the efforts of the district assembly for its continued support.

He thanked the people for their co-operation and urged them to vote for him again to be able to accomplish programmes planned to accelerate the area’s development. He  expressed appreciation to the district assembly and the government for benefiting from the Self Help Electrification Project (STEP), saying about 200 low-tension poles had been supplied to the communities towards the project.

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