Assembly members of the La-Nkwantanang Madina Municipal Assembly are heading to court to have the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for the area, Mr Franklin P. Anku, removed from office.
“We have contacted our lawyer who will be writing to the MCE to question why he had overstayed for more than a week since our letter asking him to leave office. We will also be seeking answers regarding the transfer request for the Municipal Coordinating Director and the Municipal Works Engineer,” Mr Fusseini told the Daily Graphic.
He said last week Thursday, the MCE held an executive committee meeting without consent from the assembly members. He said since that meeting did not have a quorum, it was deemed illegal and will be contested by the lawyer for the assembly members.
However, the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), Dr Eric Oduro Osae, has explained that no metropolitan, municipal or district assembly can confirm or pass a vote of no confidence in a chief executive in the absence of an official from the Electoral Commission (EC) in the district.
He said just as it was important for an official from the EC to be present to validate the confirmation of an MMDCE following agreement by two-thirds of the members of the assembly, so also must there be an EC official to confirm that two-thirds of members wanted the chief executive out.
Commenting on the impasse between the Municipal Chief Executive for the La-Nkwantanang-Madina Municipal Assembly and the assembly members, Dr Osae, an expert in local governance, insisted that the absence of the district electoral officer at the meeting in which the said vote of no confidence on the Municipal Chief Executive was passed, made the resolution of the members illegal and not binding.
He has under the circumstances, advised them “to do the right thing” by convening another meeting inviting all members of the house, including the coordinating director and an official from the EC, who would conduct either a secret or open ballot if their vote of no confidence was to become legal and binding.
Quoting sections of the Local Government Act 462 to back his argument, Dr Osae said “What they have done cannot hold in law. Such a meeting required the Municipal Coordinating Director to be present, who would then write a covering letter on the resolution reached for distribution to relevant authorities.’’
The right thing
He said the district EC official would have to count the votes and report the results to the municipal coordinating director, who was the secretary to the meeting.
“Whatever decision is reached after that would have to be signed by the presiding member who chairs the meeting,” he explained.
He said a letter would have to be addressed to the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development and copies sent to the Office of the President.
He added that a decision by the President would be communicated to the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development who would in turn inform the assembly of the decision taken.
According to Dr Osae, in the absence of an EC official to corroborate the decision taken by the assembly to either retain or dismiss a chief executive, any such move by the assembly on its own remained questionable.
Fusseini dismisses claims
But Mr Fusseini has dismissed the assertions made by Dr Osei regarding the involvement of an EC official in proceedings leading to the removal of an MMDCE. He said while Dr Osae’s submission may be a convention, it did not legally bind the assembly to follow that process.
“We can choose to go by it or not. It is a standing order but not one that binds legally.
“It is a procedural process and not a steadfast rule. We are working with Act 462 which binds legally. We are hopeful of winning the case in court and that is what we have set in motion. We have instructed our lawyers to have papers served on them by Monday or Tuesday,” he said.
Ten out of the 13 members of the La-Nkwantanang Madina Municipal Assembly passed a vote of no confidence in the MCE last week for what they described as his inability to effectively manage the affairs of the assembly.
They accused the MCE of disrespecting assembly members, having poor interpersonal relationship, being autocratic, using divide and rule tactics to run his administration, as well as nepotism.