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General News of Saturday, 12 May 2018


My hands are tied but try election petition - Akufo-Addo to peeved Ada East politicians

Hopes of aggrieved Assembly members at Ada East District for the President's intervention in the controversial election of its Chief Executive, have been dashed.

President Nana Akufo-Addo has said in a response to a petition, there is nothing he can do to overturn the November 2017 election of Sarah Dugbakie Pobee, which 17 Assembly members say was fraudulent.

The election was the last chance of the nominee to be confirmed after she failed to garner required votes on two attempts.

The final ballot was a showdown. A group in the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Invincible Forces, stormed the premises while police officers looked on.

The Presiding Member in the District, Simon Arthur, was beaten and the power went off in what the members say was clear attempt to cow them into confirming the nominee.

When the power came back after a short while, the white cover of the ballot box was suddenly green.

Simon Arthur refused to sign the results declaration forms citing subversion and fraud. Protesting the alleged robbery, the Presiding Member screamed: "we shall see the development after that".

The PM appears to have made good of this threat as local governance has stalled since the November mayhem. There has been no Assembly meeting and the District has no approved budget to allocate resources.

In a five-page petition to President Nana Akufo-Addo, the aggrieved members asked the president not to recognise his nominee to the district as validly elected.

All 17 said they voted against the nominee yet the total of the 'NO' votes was 9. They also indicted Deputy Greater Accra Regional Minister, Elizabeth Sackey, for masterminding the subversion.

But the District Chief Executive-elect, Sarah Dugbakie Pobee, was sworn in by the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Ishmael Ashitey, days after the controversial election.

Six months after the petition, the President has backed the Electoral Commission's declaration of Ms. Pobee as validly elected.

"I have no lawful power to set aside the process once constitutionally empowered bodies have acted". He suggested a legal remedy remains an option the aggrieved politicians are free to exercise.

"…the only legitimate manner in which the approval process can be impugned is through an election petition".

President Nana Akufo-Addo has once protested an unfavourable election result in court.

In 2013, he led the NPP to court in an election petition case to challenge the declaration of President John Mahama as validly elected.

After nine months of hearing, the hopes of the then-presidential candidate of the NPP for an overturning of results was, dashed.