Parliament still in talks with EC to brief the House – Majority Leader
The Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu on Friday informed Parliament that he was still in talks with the Electoral Commission (EC) to brief the House on its preparations towards Ghana’s 2020 general election.
Last week, he informed the House that Commissioners of the EC were on assignment in the regions and indicated that they would be back in Accra, on June 15, 2020 and thereafter do the briefing.
The Leader had told the House that considering the business of the House, the date announced by the EC would be too distant; and he was therefore impressing upon the Commission to make its officials available for the briefing on June 9, 2020.
He promised to inform the House of the outcome of the consultations on Tuesday, June 2, 2020.
On Friday, June 5, when the House was considering the Business Statement for the following week the matter came up again.
The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, questioned Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu on why the EC, over the past weeks have failed to appear before the House to brief them on their preparations towards the 2020 elections.
“Mr Speaker, today I am compelled to invoke the power invested in you under Order 53(2) of the Standing Orders and to make request of you, and to rule on the matter.
“Mr Speaker, since 30th April I have been labouring with my colleague the Majority Leader to summon the Chairperson of the EC to update parliament’s Committee of the Whole, and their roadmap for the 2020 general election as well as interrogate matters related to their procurement, budget and their political accountability to the House.”
Mr Iddrisu also stated the Majority Leader on many occasions have repeatedly deferred the matter and given him days which he could no longer rely on.
He said the Majority Leader informed the House that the EC officials would be in the House on June 9, but even when he read the Business Statement on the floor there was no indication to that effect.
“Political accountability and holding the EC accountable as an independent constitutional body is an important oversight role of the House,” he said.
Responding, the Majority Leader said the Leadership of the Special Budget Committee, sequel to a request by the Minority Leader invited the EC to brief the House on its preparations towards 2020 general election.
He said over the period he was updating the Minority Leader on the EC’s invitation to the House at the Business Committee.
He said the EC officials assured him that they would be in the House to brief them on their preparations towards general election on June 16, 2020 but wanted to pull them to the House on June 9, which failed.
He said the EC officials had indicated to him that they would be in various places in the districts and that they would be coming back on Sunday, June 14 so that they could appear before the Legislature on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.
In an apparent reference to ruling by the Supreme Court, for the EC to provide the legal basis for it decision not to include; the current Voter ID card as an eligible document for voter registration, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu also stated as a result of the suit against the EC, the Commission was tasked to appear before the court on Monday, June 8, 2020.
The Majority Leader promised further consult EC, them if its officials could avail themselves to the House the day after the court case, which is June 9, before they leave for the districts.
“Because of what happened at the court, I will want to further consult them to see if they can avail themselves the day after court hearing… If we have that assurance then they will come on June 9, other than that compelling them will be a difficult,” he added.