The Electoral Commission’s decision not to conduct the ongoing limited voter registration exercise outside of its district offices, according to National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for South Dayi Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, is unacceptable.
According to the Legislator, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission and her deputies lied against the institution of parliament.
He recalled that the Electoral Commission presented both its financial expenditure for 2023 and what they called a medium-term expenditure framework to parliament some time in November 2022, following the reading of the 2023 budget.
“The MTEF run from 2023, 2024, 2025, and 2026 as its work program. Parliament never tainted anything in that work program. In addition to that, parliament approved the budget that the EC asked for. The EC actually asked for as much as GHS 386,047,606 as its budget for 2023″.
Mr. Dafeamekpor also affirmed that out of that budget, the EC specifically asked for GHS 66, 059,846 as the budget for its continuous registration, and that is the language of the C.I.
He argued that the Electoral Commission does not need a new law in order to carry out its mandate as this present registration has demonstrated.
“The position of the minority has always been that you don’t need a new law to carry out your mandate. What does the existing law say about registration? If you go to C.I. 91, Regulation 2, sub-regulation 1(a) which is on registration centres, speaks of the fact that the EC can conduct registration at its district offices”.Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor
He further explained that in sub-regulation 2(2) of the Electoral Commission Constitutional Instrument, the Commission is required to take certain factors into consideration especially access and convenience in designating other registration centers.
“In sub-regulation 2 sub-regulation 4 of C.1. as amended by C..I. 126, parliament was very clear that in granting that discretion to the Electoral Commission to designate additional registration centres, it could be abused. So what did parliament do?
Parliament said, you must take into consideration the existing gazetted polling stations when you want to consider additional registration centers in the district”.Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor
EC Can Seek Legal Action Against Parliament
Meanwhile, according to Honorable Andy Kwame Appiah-Kubi, the ranking member of the parliamentary subsidiary legislation committee, the Electoral Commission may file a lawsuit against parliament if it believes that the body is impeding its efforts to pass a new Constitutional Instrument (CI).
According to Andy Kwame Appiah-Kubi, the MP for Asante-Akim North and Ranking Member of the Parliament’s Subsidiary Legislation Committee, there have been numerous conversations about the CI, thus he does not understand why it cannot be laid.
The decision to limit the ongoing limited voter registration exercise to its district offices rather than decentralizing it has come under heavy criticisms from opposing political parties, and the Electoral Commission has even been sued for the decision by the National Democratic Congress and other four political parties.
According to Chairperson of the Electoral Commission Jean Mensa, failure of Parliament to approve the new Constitutional Instrument, or CI, that the Electoral Commission (EC) submitted for approval has contributed to their inability to widen the exercise.