24
Sat, Jun

Confusion rocks endorsement of Sunyani West DCE

The EC official, Mr Ankamah Cheremeh, (partly covered) sitting on the floor after suffering from effects of the tear gas fired by the police in the Assembly Hall

The Sunyani West District Assembly’s setting to endorse the President’s nominee, Mr Martin Obeng, as its District Chief Executive (DCE) ended in confusion without his confirmation.

Even though the appointee needed 36 votes out of the 54 assembly members (made up of 37 elected members and 17 government appointees,) he garnered 35, while 19 voted against him.

Violence

At the end of the voting, an Electoral Commission (EC) Officer, Mr Ankamah Cheremeh, demanded that the votes should be counted on his table, while some of the assembly members argued that it should be counted in front of the hall.

That brought a struggle between the assembly members and EC officials, with both sides pulling the ballot box.

In the ensuing struggle, the EC official told the assembly members that since they had finished casting their votes, they should allow the EC to count the ballots cast.

Police interven

Even though the police tried to intervene to protect the ballot box and papers, some assembly members prevented the police officers from doing so.

The assembly members started charging towards the dais where the Regional Minister, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, and other officials (including the EC officials were seated) pushing, shouting and dragging chairs.

 The police were,  therefore, compelled to fire tear gas to dismiss the crowd to protect the regional minister, the nominee, EC officials and the ballot box.

One of the EC officials, Mr Cheremeh, was seriously affected by the tear gas and was seen lying on the floor gasping for breath.

 He was rushed out of the hall for first aid and later sent out of the assembly premises for further treatment.   

Mr Asomah-Cheremeh, who was unhappy about the incident, adjourned the sitting indefinitely.

Press Conference

Members of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD) who thronged the assembly’s premises to throw their support behind Mr Obeng, who is a member of the association, were disappointed by the turn of events.

They later organised a press conference to register their displeasure about the violence that broke up in the confirmation of their member.

Addressing the media, the National Advocacy Officer of the GFD, Mr Joshua Makubu, expressed worry about the assembly’s inability to confirm Mr Obeng as DCE.

 

He was, however, hopeful that the assembly would confirm the nominee at its next meeting.