17 January 2013

Ghana: Near Blows At Kweabibirem Assembly

Kade — The office of the Kweabibirem District Assembly in the Eastern Region was virtually reduced to a boxing ring on Thursday, as the District Coordinating Director (DCD) of the Assembly, Mr. Stephen Aduama-Larbi, nearly used the District Chief Executive (DCE), Emmanuel Reginald Aboagye Osae, and some executive members of the Assembly as punching bags.

The near-exchange of blows occurred after the executive members and the DCE invited the DCD to explain certain issues that were raised at an Executive Committee meeting, and sequel to a letter from the DCE to the Regional Coordinating Director, calling for the transfer of the DCD.

The letter, dated December 28, 2012, and titled "Request to transfer the District Co-Coordinating Director" accused the DCD and the District Finance Officer, Mr. Samuel Ayim Antwi, of non-performance and attitude of non-cooperation with some management staff on December 24, 2012.

Among others, the duo allegedly failed to coordinate and organise the 2012 Farmers Day celebration and other national events, to present the Assembly's comprehensive indebtedness, as well as failure to query drivers who misbehaved towards the DCE and other senior staff.

The rest are failure of the DCD to answer audit queries, and putting impediments in the operation of the Internal Audit Unit, refusal to attend management meetings and act on DCE's instructions, unable to build rapport with senior management staff, heads of departments, and assembly members, and to exercise administrative control over staff members in his purview.

After careful consideration of the issues raised, the Executive Committee decided to invite the DCD to respond to the issues, but only for him to vent his anger on them.

The DCD, shortly after joining the meeting, started shouting at the top of his voice, amidst banging on the high table, and showing a posture to fight the members until he was escorted out of the meeting by the District Finance Officer (DFO).

As if that was not enough, Mr. Larbi allegedly returned to the meeting to rain all manner of insults the members until he was again directed to leave the premises by the Principal Executive Officer.

The committee, having taken note, came to a conclusion that the behaviour and gesture portrayed were incompatible with the position of the DCD, hence resolved that he should be transferred from the place.

But in an appeal for redress, the embittered DCD explained that the decision of the house to impose a vote of no confidence in him was an affront to Act462 of the Local Government Act, and should be described as ultra vires.

He expressed dissatisfaction and displeasure at the "humiliation and embarrassment" meted out to him by the DCE and entire Executive Committee.

To him, a vote of no confidence can only be applied to the Presiding Member (PM) and DCE as a special sanction for an act which the General Assembly may deem to be contrary to the norms of convention, customs and procedures of the Assembly.

He quoted part the Model Standing Orders for the Assemblies and the Local Government Act to support his claims.

To this end, the DCD said, the Executive Committee did not have the power to impose a vote of no confidence on him, since any decision of the Executive Committee shall be subject to the approval of the Assembly.

In a further interview to confirm the situation, Mr. Larbi said patience was tried, hence the action.

He also expressed surprise at the actions of the DCE, since "we have lived together like father and son for all these months," alleging that the DCE's action was prompted by his desperation and lack of room to use the resources of the Assembly to do his own thing.

He has further advised the DCE not to be misled by some people to embark on a fight that he would not be able to win, since he (DCD) would expose his alleged devious activities.

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