5 Assemblies in Upper East do not have Presiding Members

Five District Assemblies in the Upper East Region do not have Presiding Members since their inauguration in January 2020.

The situation is affecting the effective planning and implementation of development projects.

The affected assemblies are Builsa South, Bawku West, Talensi, Binduri and Tempane.

The assemblies, after several attempts since the district level election in December 2019, could not elect Presiding Members as candidates failed to meet the two-thirds majority required to be elected.

The Upper East Regional Chapter of the Ghana Association of Assembly Members (GAAM) announced this at a press conference in Bolgatanga to ask the government to address the welfare of elected Assembly Members.

Mr David Adoliba, the Regional President of GAAM, who spoke on behalf of the group, called on the government to amend the Local Government Act to allow for a simple majority for the election of a Presiding Member.

Per the provisions of the Local Government Act of 2016, Act 936, one must obtain a two-thirds majority of the total number of the assembly members to be a Presiding Member, making it difficult for most Assemblies to meet the requirement of the law.

Apart from the five out of the 15 municipal and districts assemblies not being able to elect a Presiding Member, the Bawku West Assembly, for instance, was unable to elect a Presiding Member for five years running, he said.

The Regional President said the situation was affecting the development prospects of the districts and called for the amendment of the Act to ensure that the position of a Presiding Member was determined based on a simple majority.

He appealed to Mr Stephen Yakubu, the Regional Minister, to assist the five assemblies to elect their Presiding Members before the announcement of municipal and district chief executives for confirmation in the region.

“The Presiding Member is the one who is supposed to summon meetings, lead businesses of the house and take complaints from the general public but, surprisingly, that is the only office in this country that is very difficult to get people elected into.

“We don’t understand why when it comes to the election of a Presiding Member, we put a tag there that it must be two-thirds of all membership and that is making it very difficult for most assemblies to get Presiding Members,” he said.

The Regional President urged the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to take steps to have the Local Government Act amended to ensure that the election of a Presiding Member was decided by a simple majority just like other positions in government. GNA

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