West Gonja District Assembly fails to elect presiding member

The West Gonja District Assembly Tuesday failed to elect a Presiding Member (PM) to steer the affairs of the assembly after one round of voting.

The contest was between the incumbent Assembly Member for the DASS Electoral Area, Dramani Katribi and the Assembly Member for the Apelso Electoral Area, Mumuni Mohammed.

None of the two candidates was able to obtain 11 votes, constituting the mandatory two thirds of the 16 members present and voting to be elected after one round of voting.

Katribi (incumbent) and Mohammed polled eight(8) votes each, adding up to a total of 16 votes of members present and voting.

The Assembly is composed of 12 elected members, five government appointees, the District Chief Executive and the Member of Parliament who is an ex-officio member.

Two of the members, all government appointees were however unavailable to cast their votes reducing the total eligible votes from 18 votes to 16 votes.An initial attempt to swear in two government appointees to replace the two members who have been unable to discharge their duties to the assembly was resisted by some members.They argued that such a practice was alien to the standing orders of the assembly,since the meeting was purposely requested to elect the Presiding Member and nothing more.

The election has been necessitated following the expiration of the tenure of office of the incumbent Presiding Member, Dramani Katribi.

Chapter 20:Article 244 of the 1992 Constitution states that:
(1) The District Assembly shall have a Presiding Member who shall be elected by the Assembly from among its members.
(2) The Presiding Member shall be elected by at least two-thirds majority of all the members of the Assembly.
(3)The presiding member shall-
(a) preside over the meetings of the Assembly;
(4) Subject to clause (5) of this article, the term of office of the Presiding Member shall be two years and he shall be eligible for re-election.

In the absence of a substantive Presiding Member, the incumbent, Dramani Katribi will continue to act until such a time when the assembly is able to elect one.

The Electoral Commission was prepared to conduct a second round of voting, but Dramani (incumbent) invoked a clause to suggest that was not possible,since the position was not a casual one, adding that,it now lie within his mandate as the acting PM to consult with management to schedule a new date for the election.

After series of consultations however, the DCE, Saeed Muhazu Jibreal said the election has been postponed to a soon to be announced date,but subject to the finances of the assembly.

The process of the election was generally peaceful except the political firestorm that engulfed the process from the beginning.

A member who had used some adjectives considered to be improper as per the standards of the house was asked to withdraw same to which he obliged.

Source: Ananpansah B Abraham (AB)

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