THE MINISTER for Local Government and Rural Development, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, was virtually thrown out of the chamber of Parliament yesterday over the intended creation of 42 new districts by the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.
Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo, a former National Organiser of the governing party, appeared before the House to lay Legislative Instruments of 30 of the districts, leaving 12 out with the explanation that they would be brought later.
Interestingly, not a single district from the Ashanti Region, the political stronghold of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), had been added to the list, making the Minority Caucus in Parliament to smell a rat.
The Local Government minister had to quietly walk out of the chamber after facing stiff resistance from the Member of Parliament (MP) for Manhyia, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, who insisted Parliament would be violating a Supreme Court ruling if the LIs were laid for consideration.
The Supreme Court, which is the highest court of the land, he pointed out, had ruled that Parliament had no power to amend LIs and this, according to him, had in effect barred the legislature from performing its functions regarding the creation of districts through Legislative Instruments.
Quoting Article 241 (2) to buttress his point, which states that parliament may make provision for the redrawing of the boundaries of districts or for reconstituting the districts, Dr. Opoku Prempeh contended, amid protestation and shouts from the majority NDC, that “If the president wants to bring a district he should come to parliament with a bill so that parliament can do it well”.
Agreeing with the Manhyia MP, Speaker Justice Joyce Bamford-Addo said she did not understand why LIs for some districts should be brought to the House whilst others were left out.
She suggested that all the LIs should be brought to the House for laying and not done in bits. A phenomenon the Minority group has described as “tot by tot” manifested in most activities that have been undertaken under President Atta Mills’ administration including the conduct of the district assembly elections.
Contributing, First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho, who is also the NDC MP for Avenor/Ave, contended that laying of the LIs could be done while the House considered the concerns raised by members when the Committee on the Subsidiary Legislation brought its report.
But Speaker Justice Bamford-Addo retorted, “I have given my opinion on the matter. You can decide to lay the LIs when you take the chair”.
Her submission effectively weakened Mr. Adjaho’s apparent resolve to lay the LIs, compelling the Local Government Minister to walk out of the chamber looking dejected.
At the time of filing this report, it was not immediately clear when the LIs for the creation of the 42 new districts would be laid as the House was about to go on recess yesterday.
Source: Awudu Mahama/D-Guide
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