Parliament summons EC Chairman on district elections

Dr Afari-Gyan - Commissioner
Dr Afari-Gyan – Commissioner

Parliament on Tuesday summoned the Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC) Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan to appear before the House to explain the circumstances leading to the truncation of the district level elections by the Supreme Court.

Mr Afari Gyan will also apprise the House on the EC’s next line of action to get the district level elections organized. He will appear before the House on Thursday, March 5, 2015.

First Deputy Speaker, Ebo Barton- Odro, issued the summons when Members expressed disquiet over the EC’s intransigence and the implication the cancellation of the election meant to Ghana.

Mr Barton-Odro also ordered the Clerk of Parliament, Mr Emmanuel Anyimadu, to secure a copy of the ruling of the Supreme Court for the perusal of members.

The Supreme Court last Friday ordered the EC to suspended the organization of the district level elections, ruling that the processes leading to the actual polls was flawed and asked the EC to reorganize the elect ion.

Papa Owusu Ankomah, MP for Sekondi said the EC Chairman ought to explain to the House why the Commission’s omission led to the cancellation of the elections and the way forward.

The Minority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said the EC’s failure to hold the elections had serious implications for the functioning of the district assemblies.

He said a similar situation arose four years ago leading to a delay in the district assembly elections, necessitating government to request district chief executives to “hold the fort”, during which time funds were mismanaged.

“That situation must not be allowed to recur”, he said.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said he was privy to information that suggests the EC may not be able to bring another Constitutional Instrument before the House until March 16, this year.

He said if the law was adhered to, it meant that the CI would not mature until the mandatory 21 sitting days had elapsed, saying the situation could result in the recurrence of the malfeasance witnessed four years ago in the district assemblies.

Mr Isaac Osei, MP for Subin, said the Finance and Local Government and Rural Development Ministries needed to tell the House the measures they taken to protect the public purse in the interim.

The MP for Manhyia South, Dr Matthew Opoku – Prempeh, said the Ministry of Finance should state how it would ensure the smooth release of funds for the reorganization of the elections, as stated by the Supreme Court.

Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, MP for Wa West asked colleague legislators not to be judgmental and called for copies of the ruling by the Supreme Court to be made available to members for their perusal and comment.

The Deputy Majority Leader,  Mr Alfred Agbesi, said aspiring assembly members felt let down by the EC and that the Commission’s conduct was unacceptable.

The MP for Adansi Asokwa,  Mr KT Hammond,  kicked against the appearance of the EC Chairman before the House, accusing Dr Afari-Gyan of arrogance and disrespect because he (Afari Gyan) ignored advice from Parliament to ensure that the right thing was done.

Majority Leader, Alban Bagbin, however, told the House that the Electoral Commission is preparing a Legislative Instrument that would be laid before the house in a fortnight.

Source: GNA

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