Govt mulls extension of current assembly members’ tenure

Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur has asked the Attorney General to consider an extension of the tenure of assembly members across the country within the next three days.

Speaking at a conference of Regional Ministers in Elmina in the Central Region, the Vice President said this has become necessary in order to pre-empt gaps in the management of the affairs of District Assemblies before new members are elected. 

Plans to hold local level elections on March 3 were stopped by the Supreme Court after the Justices ruled that the Electoral Commission violated the Constitution in preparations towards the polls.

The EC had already spent about GH¢317 million on the botched District Assembly elections.

The Supreme Court verdict means the various district level positions would remain vacant in three days when the term of existing assembly members expires.

Although some legal experts say it will be illegal for any such extension of the tenure of the assembly members, the Vice President said there is a need to think outside the box to avert a crisis.

“We need to re-strategise as to how best to manage the circumstances that we are confronted with”, he said.

Amissah-Arthur expressed disapproval of the millions that have gone to waste due to the botched elections.

“The lesson for me is that next time we have to be very diligent in the way we plan things so that we don’t get stopped halfway in the management of various [elections]“, he said.

The District Assembly elections have now been slated for July.

Meanwhile, Chairman of Parliamentary Select Committee on Local Government, Dominic Azumah, is suggesting the issuance an Executive Instrument to address the current impasse at the District Assemblies.

He has asked President John Mahama to appoint the current executive management teams within various assemblies to steer affairs until new members are elected.

Parliament has also set up a 13-member committee to work with the EC on preparing the appropriate legislative framework for the elections in July.

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