Local Government and Rural Development Minister Alhaji Collins Dauda, has been dragged to the Supreme Court with the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice as nominal defendant over the legality of some Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).
Attorney-General Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong
Three plaintiffs, Robert Kwame Dadzie, Oscar Riches and Isaac Nkrumah have averred that the Local Government and Rural Development Minister has unilaterally amended the Model Standing Orders (regulations) of the MMDAs to allow individuals to act as presiding members in contravention of Article 244 (2) of the constitution.
They are therefore at the highest court of the land, seeking a declaration that on the true and proper interpretation of Article 244 (2) of the Constitution no person can act as the Presiding Member of Metropolitan, Municipal or District Assembly without obtaining two thirds votes of all members of the Assembly.
The plaintiffs who are represented by legal practitioners, Yeboah Lex Co Limited, are also seeking a declaration that the amendment of order 10 (7) of the Model Standing Orders of the District Assemblies made by the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development (1st Defendant herein) on the 27th October 2015 amounts to an amendment to article 244 (2) of the Constitution and should accordingly be declared illegal, null and void and of no legal effect.
Furthermore, they are seeking a declaration that any person not elected as presiding member in accordance with Article 244 (2) of the Constitution cannot preside over any meeting of any District Assembly.
Statement of case
In their statement of case, the plaintiffs averred that on or about 1st of September 2015, the Electoral Commission conducted District Level Elections throughout Ghana for the election of Assembly Members for the various, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies in Ghana.
The plaintiffs herein who contested the elections were duly elected as Assembly Members for the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly and the Bibiani-Ahwiaso-Bekwai District Assembly respectively.
According to them, on or about 6th of October 2015 all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies were inaugurated and at the inaugural meetings, the principal function was the election of the presiding members of various assemblies.
“By law as laid down in Article 244 (2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana 1992, a presiding member shall be elected by obtaining at least two-thirds of the votes of the members of the assembly.
“However, the inaugural meetings of the Assemblies of the Plaintiffs herein the proposed presiding members could not be elected because they could not obtain two-thirds of votes of all the members of the assemblies as laid down in Article 244 (2) of the Constitution,” the plaintiffs stated.
They added that “it is also a fact that there were other Assemblies in Ghana apart from those of the plaintiffs where Presiding Members could not be elected because the proposed presiding members could not obtain two-thirds of the votes of all members of the Assemblies.”
The plaintiffs further averred that on or about the 27th day of October, the 1st Defendant (Alhaji Collins Dauda) issued a letter in which he issued instructions which were deemed to be an amendment to Order 10 (7) of the Model Standing Orders.
“By that amendment the 1st Defendant was instructing that where Assemblies could not elect the presiding member by a majority of two-thirds of all the members, a presiding member could be elected by a simple majority not even by all members of the Assembly but by a simple majority of members present and voting,” the plaintiffs pointed out.
They considered this “amendment or instruction or directive as in contravention of Article 244 (2) of the Constitution,” and are therefore before the Supreme Court for the appropriate reliefs.
In the affidavit of the plaintiffs, Robert Kwame Dadzie indicated he is the deponent and the 1st plaintiff, has the authority of Oscar Riches and Isaac Nkrumah, 1st and 2nd plaintiffs respectively depose to these facts which are within his personal knowledge and belief on their joint behalf.
He averred that “the plaintiffs are Assembly Members who were duly elected for their respective Electoral Areas following the District Level Elections conducted throughout Ghana on the 1st of September 2015 by the Electoral Commission and therefore the plaintiffs are Assembly Members at the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly and the Bibiani-Ahwiaso-Bekwai District Assembly respectively.
Mr. Dadzie further stated that the 1st Defendant is the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development whose actions are before the highest court of the land and the 2nd Defendant is the Attorney-General of Ghana who by law is a statutory Defendant in such cases.
Source: THE Custodian newspaper