Members of the Lower Manya Krobo Municipal Assembly in the Eastern Region have elected Mr. Benjamin Awuley Mensah as the Presiding Member (PM) of the assembly.
At the first session of the Lower Manya Krobo Municipal Assembly on Thursday attended by all 43 assembly members and voting supervised by Electoral Commission (EC) officials, Mr. Benjamin Awuley Mensah won an overwhelming endorsement to assume the position after member for Kpong Ahudzo, Raymond Gborson pulled out of the contest.
Voting consisted of 28 elected members, three deceased members (whose votes still counted), 14 government appointees and 2 non-voting right entitlement members (Member of Parliament and Municipal Chief Executive).
Rounds of voting
Earlier on, two rounds of voting failed to produce a winner in contests between Hon. Muhammed Alhassan Siba, member for Kpong Zongo Electoral Area and Hon. Winfred Ayerh Kofi Zando representing Odumase-North Electoral Area. The first round of voting of the first contest saw Hon. Zando securing 24 votes as against 12 votes garnered by Hon. Siba. There were five rejected ballots.
In a clear case of disinterest in both candidates by certain members, the number of rejected ballots increased from 5 to 8 in the second round of voting while both candidates suffered reduction in their numbers. While Mr. Muhammed Alhassan Siba saw his votes reduced from 12 to 11, his main contender, Mr. Winfred Ayerh Kofi Zando also saw his votes reduced from 24 to 22. Though Mr. Zando won both contests in two secret balloting sessions, he nevertheless failed to garner 32 votes or more which on the day represented the mandatory two thirds needed to win the contest.
Having failed on two rounds to clinch the mandatory two thirds majority to win the contest, both contestants pulled out of the race for the two new nominees, Mr. Benjamin Awuley Mensah representing Odumase-South and Raymond Gborson member for Kpong Ahudzo.
Subsequently however, Raymond Gborson pulled out of the contest, paving way for a massive approval for the sole contestant who polled 39 yes votes, representing 95.1 per cent, as against two no votes, representing 4.9 per cent.
The 14-member appointees represent a 30 per cent requirement of other members of the assembly as required by Article 242 (d) of the 1992 Constitution.
In an acceptance speech, presiding member elect, Mr. Benjamin Awuley Mensah expressed his appreciation to his colleagues for the massive show of support. He called for corporation and unity among house members as a catalyst to realize their mandate which includes developmental projects for the electorate.
State of the assembly
The Municipal Chief Executive for Lower Manya Krobo, honourable Simon Kweku Tetteh expressed his profound appreciation to President Akuffo Addo for his nomination and subsequent appointment to the position of a chief executive. He also took the opportunity to thank members of the assembly for their total endorsement given him during his confirmation.
While the Lower Manya Krobo Municipal Assembly isn’t performing too badly, the honourable Simon Kweku Tetteh however was of the opinion that the body ought to perform better than it was currently operating.
“Though we have not performed too badly, we have to acknowledge however that today, the assembly is not performing as well as it should. There is poor service delivery and several problems and challenges have faced the district assembly,” the honourable MCE pointed out.
He enumerated the challenges bedeviling the assembly as inadequate staffing in terms of the right mix of skills, inadequate office accommodation and office equipment and decline in the level of training offered not kept pace with technology and skills.
Poverty levels in the assembly also came up as unacceptable to the assembly chief. While the poverty incidence stands at 14.8% with a corresponding ranking of 161 out of the 2016 MMDAs, the actual number of persons wallowing in poverty stands at 12, 963 and ranked 168th, a situation the MCE described as unfortunate.
Present at the sitting was Member of Parliament for Lower Manya Krobo, honourable Okletey Terlabi an ex-officio member. The House also observed a minute’s silence for three departed members of the House and three members of the assembly staff.