Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan; the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development and the Minister of Finance, have been summoned to appear before parliament tomorrow to brief the House on the suspended district level elections and the arrangements for fresh elections.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Sekondi, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, yesterday prompted parliament about the need to take up the matter as an urgent one to ensure that the district assembly elections are brought back on track as soon as possible and also to allay the fears of members of the public about the way forward.
The minority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said he was completely at a loss about the avoidable suspense and anxiety the EC had plunged the country into.
He said the EC failed to listen to suggestions by some MPs which have landed the country in another electoral crisis.
‘This issue came up on the floor of this House and we thought the proper thing would have been done but the EC was adamant,’ he recounted.
The minority leader indicated that if care was not taken a repeat of illegality and improper conduct of the 2010 district assembly elections would happen where the elections were unduly delayed, resulting in ‘vacant’ assemblies, when they (assemblies) should have been legally constituted to run the affairs of the various districts.
According to the minority leader, when the district chief executives (DCEs) were directed by the local government minister to hold their breath until new assemblies were put in place, the DCEs had the leeway to do ‘whatever’ they wanted to do with public funds.
He said it was important that the EC chairman was invited to brief the House within this week because from his information, the EC might bring a new Constitutional Instrument before parliament on March 16 and by the 21-day maturity date parliament would have gone on recess.
He therefore called on parliament to take a decisive action on this seeming electoral crisis.
The deputy majority leader, Alfred Agbesi, was not happy with the current development, stressing that the conduct of the EC is unacceptable.
According to him, the country and for that matter, district level election candidates, were waiting to know the next line of action, pointing out that the nation could not continue to have this experience.
The MP for Effutu, Alex Afenyo-Markin, counsel for Ayi Mensah, the man who took the matter to the Supreme Court for the landmark ruling, said all elections are governed by regulations and apart from the EC breaching the Constitution in terms of the CI 85, it had also not brought to parliament regulations to guide the forthcoming district level elections.
The MP for Manhyia South, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh said the invitation of the Minister of Finance was crucial because he should be made to tell MPs how he would fund the new process leading to the fresh elections.
He indicated that the situation the nation finds itself now could be described as a ‘high level crisis.’
The MP for Adansi Asokwa, KT Hammond, disagreed with his colleagues regarding the invitation of Afari-Gyan to appear before parliament.
According to him, the EC chairman had become so arrogant that he should not be tolerated in parliament.
‘Mr speaker, we said the EC was legally wrong to open nominations when the CI 85 had not matured, but the EC chairman, as arrogant as he has always been, disregarded the warnings of MPs, including me, and went ahead to open nominations so there is no point in inviting the EC chairman here,’ K.T. Hammond fumed.
The first deputy speaker, Ebo Barton-Odro, who was presiding, directed that the EC chairman, and the two ministers should appear before the House on Thursday to respond to the concerns of the MPs.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr
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