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Assembly Members take office amid protests against some government appointees

Assembly members

District assemblies throughout the country are back to life following the inauguration of new district assembly members yesterday.

The inaugurations were performed by various personalities, including the Vice-President, Mr Amissah Arthur, who inaugurated the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly.

The previous assemblies were dissolved on Saturday, March 14, 2015 when their tenure expired.

The colourful inauguration ceremonies held throughout the country were not without incidents. At the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, an issue was raised on the eligibility of a member, following a court injunction placed on him.

At the East Akyem Municipal Assembly at Kyebi, some of the members raised issues with the composition of the government appointees. A similar incident occurred at the Talensi North District Assembly and some other district assemblies throughout the country.

These isolated incidents did not, however, take away the shine from the inaugurations as district assembly members, sporting their best clothes, made it to the venues with family members and some supporters to commemorate the event.

In all 216 district assemblies were inaugurated, one month after the successful conduct of the district-level elections.

After the expiry of the tenure of the 216 district assemblies, the Electoral Commission (EC) set in motion the process for the conduct of fresh elections to constitute new assemblies.

Court injunction

The process however, suffered a major setback when a fisherman, Mr Benjamin Eyi Mensah, sued the EC for disqualifying him from contesting the election.

Mr Eyi Mensah, through his counsel, Mr Afenyo Markins, evoked the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to pronounce on the matter.

The Supreme Court, on February 27, ruled that holding the elections on March 3 would be unconstitutional and, therefore, ordered the EC to reopen nominations and fix a new date for the polls.

Following the judgement of the Supreme Court, the EC submitted CI89 to Parliament to govern the conduct of the district-level election.

The botched district assembly election cost the nation GH¢310 million.

After all the preparations by the EC, the district-level elections were conducted on September 1, 2015.

Unlike the presidential and parliamentary elections which recorded 80.1 per cent turnout in 2008; the district-level election in 2010 had a turnout of 35.27 per cent, while the turnout in 1998 was 41.6 per cent.

There was a total of 110 districts in the country as of 1988 followed by a splitting of some districts, to bring the number to 138 in 2006.

In February 2008, more districts were created, while others were elevated to municipalities, thus bringing their number to 170.

Since then, 46 more districts have been created, bringing the current number of districts to 216.

Turnout

According to the EC, the highest turnout in the district assembly election was 59 per cent in 1988.

Source: GraphicOnline

- See more at: http://graphic.com.gh/news/politics/50848-assembly-members-take-office-amid-protests-against-some-government-appointees.html#sthash.1lOm15Cy.dpuf

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