Minister of Justice and the Attorney General, Miss Gloria Akuffo yesterday withdrew the Bill for the Referendum from Parliament as directed by the President.
However, that, singular act did not go down well with the Minority Caucus who felt the President acted unconstitutional by charging the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development to effect the Constitutional Amendment bills.
Arguing his point, Haruna Iddrisu, Minority Leader said the President was neither cloth with the mandate nor legal framework to announce the withdrawal of the bill, especially, when it was to be spearheaded by the Local Government Minister.
He argued that the President with his unilateral decision also seemed to have usurped the mandate of the Electoral Commission since Article 46 of the constitution frowned on any interference on the EC’s work.
Mr Iddrisu said the President by withdrawing the Bill also deprived Ghanaians of their sovereign right as guaranteed by Article 1(1) of the Constitution to become part of the decision making process through a referendum.
“The President has lynched the Constitution and the rule of law when people have categorically been denied the right to say how they must be governed by dictates of the constitution.
He also said the amendment of Article 243(1) which gave the President the power to appoint chief executives would not be enough without amending the Article which gave power to fire, saying, “do the people vote for him to only fire?”
Mr Haruna said it was therefore evident that the government did not do its homework well and consensus building was not the only way adding that the government could still go ahead and conduct elections of District Chief Executives if it so wish.
The Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, however debunked the idea that, the President erred by asking that the Bill be withdrawn from Parliament.
He explained that only Parliament and the Executive by law were cloth with the authority to sponsor bills to Parliament to be enacted to laws.
He said the President did by giving his Ministers of State the mandate to carry out such assignments on the floor of Parliament.
The Majority Leader said it was under the same circumstances that same bill could be withdrawn by his Minister who introduced the Bill to Parliament, in this case,the Attorney General with the Minister for Local Government seconding the Motion for the withdrawal.
He argued that both constitutional amendment bills were still under the purview of Parliament adding that the EC has not yet been given the legal mandate to exercise its electoral process mandate with regards to the referendum.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the President could therefore be unable to usurp powers of the EC when at the point they have not been cloth with that authority.
BY LAWRENCE MARKWEI