The Minority Chief Whip and Member of Parliament for Adaklu Constituency, Honorable Governs Kwame Agbodza has chastised the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Madam Jean Mensa for her allegation that the Commission’s inability to expand its ongoing limited voter registration exercise is due to lack of budgetary allocation to the Commission by Parliament.
According to the legislator, the Commissioner’s attempt to once again draw in Parliament into the ongoing discussions about the Electoral Commission’s deliberately-bungled voter registration exercise is pathetic to say the least.
He noted that Parliament in considering the Electoral Commission’s budgetary estimates for 2023, its Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) from 2023 – 2026 and the Electoral Commission’s actual Appropriation for 2023, did not take a pesewa out of the Commission’s requests.
“One of the false, weak and wishy-washy excuses the Electoral Commission Chairperson, madam Jean Adukwei Mensa sought to canvass at her press conference yesterday to justify the EC’s dogged determination to suppress first-time voters, is her claim that the Commission is acting within the constraints of its work-plan and budget as approved by Parliament.
Nothing could be farther from the truth than this barefaced lie which once again betrays the sinister and ulterior motive by this Jean Mensa/Bossman Asare-led EC to frustrate first-time voters”.Governs Kwame Agbodza
Agbodza Accuses EC Of Dishonesty
Mr. Agbodza further emphasized that it is highly contrived for the Electoral Commission to seek to introduce Parliament in a bid to justify its unpopular and unreasonable decision to restrict the registration of voters to its District Offices only.
“Indeed, both Appendix 4A (MDA Expenditure Allocation) of the 2023 Budget Statement, and the Third Schedule of the Appropriations Act 2022 (Act 1090), as well as the EC’s own Programme-Based Budget Estimates contained in its MTEF, put the EC’s total budget for 2023 at GHS386,047,606. Out of this figure, the EC budgeted a rounded figure of GHS56,059,846 for registration of voters in 2023”.Governs Kwame Agbodza
According to the Minority Chief Whip the Electoral Commission’s budgetary allocation for 2023 is far more than all the budgetary allocations of the Ministry of Information and its Agencies, the National Development Planning Commission, the National Media Commission, the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, and the Right to Information Commission, put together.
He also emphasized that not a penny of the EC’s budget was varied to its disadvantage as the Commissioner sought to claim yesterday and this is evidenced in their appropriation.
According to Mr. Agbodza the claim by the Electoral Commission Chairperson, Madam Jean Mensa that the ongoing drudgery the Electoral Commission under her leadership has put Ghanaians through has to do with budgetary constraints is one that must be treated with utmost contempt.
“There can be no justification on the part of an Electoral Commission that is hell-bent on disenfranchising voters by placing strictures and fetters on the inalienable right of Ghanaians to register to vote in public elections and referenda, instead of implementing programs to expand that right as it is enjoined by law to do”.
He stressed that Parliament would not allow Madam Jean Mensa and the Electoral Commission to use Parliament as a convenient excuse for the Commission’s lawless conduct.
He also indicated that as the representatives of the people, the Minority Caucus in Parliament would soon demand accountability from the Chairperson and the other Commissioners of the Electoral Commission.
The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Madam Jean in a press briefing yesterday, 18 September, 2023 indicated that the Commission working plan for this year and its budget allocation for this year as approved by Parliament permitted it to only hold the ongoing exercise in the way it is being held.
She also blamed the inability to expand its limited voter registration exercise this year on the delay of the passing of its Constitutional Instrument (CI).