The Ranking Member of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament, Andy Kwame Appiah-Kubi, has said if the Electoral Commission (EC) is convinced that Parliament is frustrating its efforts at getting its new Constitutional Instrument (CI) approved, it can take legal action against the institution.
EC has come has been sued by opposition political parties for its decision to restrict the ongoing limited voter registration exercise to its district offices instead of decentralizing it.
The Chairperson, Mrs Jean Mensa says Parliament is partly to blame for their inability to expand the exercise because it failed to pass the new CI that it presented for approval.
Addressing concerns and criticisms associated with the ongoing exercise, Mrs Mensa said the Commission has been left in a difficult place.
But the Minority in Parliament strongly disagrees with this position and says the Commission does not need a new law to fully execute its mandate.
Speaking on PM Express on Joy News on Wednesday, the MP for Asante-Akim North, who’s also the Ranking Member of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament, Andy Kwame Appiah-Kubi, said there have been extensive discussions on the CI, and so he does not understand why it cannot be laid.
“Indeed, I have been questioning why the EC hasn’t brought the CI and let parliament take a decision on that. I have heard people say that parliament is frustrating the EC in laying its CI Parliament doesn’t have any power to frustrate a constitutionally mandated institution.
“Maybe it’s about consultation between Parliament and the EC that has stalled the filing, but I don’t think Parliament has any power to frustrate the EC, I will not accept that fact. They [EC] probably have to come out with a better explanation. As far as I am concerned, we are all waiting for the filing of the CI for it to continue the process of maturity,” he explained.
Pushed further by the Host of PM Express, Evans Mensah, who reminded him that the EC Chairperson is directly accusing Parliament of frustrating the process, the MP said, “It’s probably because of discussions even beyond the pre-laying conferencing, because I have been part of the pre-laying conferencing, and at a point where we agreed that it ought to be filed, so I don’t see why it cannot be filed.”
He dared the EC to seek legal redress if it is convinced that there is a deliberate attempt to undermine its independence.
“If the EC is experiencing some frustration in the process of filing, EC may go to court to seek orders that will be compelling on even Parliament to facilitate the filling. For me, I have not seen any frustration on the part of Parliament in the laying of the CI If it is true that somebody is frustrating it, then somebody is undermining the independence of the Commission and it ought to be brought to be book. But for me I don’t have evidence of any such frustration. So if it becomes difficult for them, they [EC] can resort to court for interpretation” he argued.
Five political parties led by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) are in court with the Electoral Commission (EC) over the decision to restrict the limited voter registration at its district offices.
The agitated political parties are of the view that the decision by the EC to restrict the registration centres to the district offices has the potential to deprive many eligible voters of their right to be registered as voters and to vote in public elections.
Meanwhile, the Commission’s Director of Electoral Services, Dr. Serebour Quaicoe has explained that eligible voters who are unable to register in the Commission’s district offices nationwide would have to do so next year.
He said the EC will have special arrangements for hard-to-reach areas once it receives the legal backing of parliament for its Constitutional Instrument, CI According to him, the Commission will also carry out a continuous registration process in its offices that will serve would-be voters at any given time.