The Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) caucus in parliament yesterday held a press conference in Accra to flag what they term as illegal attempt by the local government Minister Alhaji Collins Dauda to side step the constitutional provision which gives clear guidelines for electing Presiding members in the various Assemblies.
Alhaji Dauda is on record to have issued a circular to all District, Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies instructing assembly members to elect just anyone of the members to preside over the assembly to approve the budget of the assemblies in the event where presiding member elections fails to produce a Presiding Member with two-thirds (2/3) of majority or popular votes.
Addressing the press yesterday, Hon. Amoako-Atta indicated that the Honorable Minister’s directive clearly contravenes Order 10(7) of the model Standing Orders of the District and article 244 of the 1992 constitution which stipulates thus;
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 members of the Assembly.
3. The Presiding Member shall – a) preside over the meetings of the Assembly; b) perform such other functions as may be prescribed by law.
He said the combined effect of these provisions is that no Assembly meeting can be convened and conducted in the absence of a substantive Presiding Member except where the secretary to the assembly is empowered by Order 1 of the Standing Order to convene the inaugural meeting at which the Presiding Member is to be elected.
However, where the assembly fails or is unable to elect a Presiding Member, the Secretary shall convene subsequent meetings only for that purpose until a Presiding Member is elected.
Hon. Amoako-Atta emphasized that in the NPP’s candid opinion and per the constitutional guidelines, “the Minister is engaging himself in an unconstitutional and illegal venture by circumventing the constitutional requirement of the two-thirds of all the members of an assembly. Indeed the so-called amendment by the Minister to the Standing Orders of the assemblies to have a member elected to preside before the election of a substantive presiding member to approve of the budget of the Assembly seeks to undermine and subvert the letter and spirit of Article 244(2) of the constitution.
Source: New Crusading Guide
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