Tension In KMA As Assembly Members Plan To Block CEO’s Nomination

Tension is brewing at the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) following suspicions that President John Dramani Mahama would re-nominate Mr. Samuel Sarpong to head the metropolitan assembly for another four-year term. The uneasy calm, which has no signs of abating any time soon, has arisen mainly because the Assembly members have taken the position that Mr. Sarpong does not deserve another tenure as the Chief Executive of the metropolis. The Assembly members have therefore vowed to explore all means possible to block his nomination as MCE; an MCE whose tenure was marked with disaster in the Ashanti Regional capital. “We know… the President may play stubborn and propose him again, but I swear we shall collect his money and still vote against him,” threatened an angry Assembly member who spoke to Today on condition of anonymity. Our sources at KMA further alleged that members of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) who supported him for the position of Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) four years ago have also called for his head. According to the sources, those supporters now claim Mr. Sarpong’s leadership style is making the party unpopular in the heavily-populated city. Not only are members of the Assembly not comfortable with the leadership style of Mr. Sarpong, which they claim has made they [Assembly members] unpopular in their localities, but he (Sarpong) has also fallen out of favour with the people of the city. Indeed, reports say, Assembly members who fraternize with him will lose their seats. “We are aware that our people do not like him and so if we vote for him to become MCE again, then our people shall vote against us in our elections, which comes up later this year and we are not ready to lose our seats because of him,” another Assembly member added. Our sources explained that one of the unpopular activities of the Kumasi MCE includes his approval of the haphazard erection of stalls and shops in the metropolis creating congestion and increased filth in the Garden City. He has thus lost favour in the eyes of the inhabitants of the city, the source added. These allegations, coupled with others, have led to the Assembly members describing his possible nomination by the president as a ‘joke’ and a dream which would never see the light of day. The Constitution of Ghana empowers the president to nominate a candidate to head an Assembly, but his nomination has to be confirmed by Assembly members in a secret ballot. Local government experts and the Progressive People’s Party have called for a review of that constitutional clause, which makes Heads of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies accountable to only to the President and his/her party in power instead of to the people in the territory they govern. The PPP in its ten-point agenda has stated that to ensure local accountability and rapid development District Assembly Members and District/Municipal/Metropolitan Chief Executives should be elected. Successive national administrations have, however, turned a deaf ear to these calls for amendment. Thus, the Assembly members, our sources indicate, are bent on voting against Mr. Sarpong even if his lobby manages to win him re-nomination.