Minority Leader elated over disqualification

Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu

Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu

The Minority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has noted that the Electoral Commission’s (EC) disqualification of 13 political parties from the 2016 presidential election was overdue.

Commenting on the impact of their rejection, the Minority Leader said the prospect of having at least 17 presidential candidates on the ballot paper was haunting.

‘Too many political parties confuse the electorate,’ he said in an interview yesterday.

The EC disqualified the 13 presidential nominees explaining that their nomination forms were not properly filled and others failed to meet the criteria set out in the Constitutional Instrument (CI 94) governing the conduct of the elections.

High-profile candidates axed from the 2016 presidential elections included  Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive Peoples’ Party.

Former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings was also disqualified once again after she suffered a similar fate in 2012.

The EC may be bracing for an avalanche of legal suits seeking to overturn the decision.

The disqualification makes the general election a two-horse race between the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the main opposition New Patriotic Parliament (NPP).

Unmindful of a re-run, the CPP would not be expected to give the two parties a tough competition, analysts say.

Speaking on the disqualifications, Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the number of non-viable political parties was worrying.

Too many of them exist on paper and have no significant influence on the results of the general election, he explained.

No political party outside the dominant two have managed to obtain more than 7 per cent of the presidential ballot since the country returned to democratic governance in 1992.

The fortunes of other parties outside the top two have been declining with the People’s National Convention (PNC) garnered per cent in 1992, a result that was nearly halved by 1996.

The party got 3 per cent in 1996 and 2.92 per cent in 2000. The ceaseless slide into electoral oblivion continued in 2004 with the party obtaining 1.92 per cent.

It got 0.84 per cent in 2008 and in 2012 it got the 0.22 per cent.

Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the commission obtained approval from Parliament to spend 1million cedis to go around the country to check if the parties meet the legal requirement to have offices in at least two-thirds of the districts in Ghana.

He claimed the commission failed to do that and repeated the approval for another 1 million cedis to do the exercise.

According to Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu despite their non-viability, these parties are always present at political party meetings with the EC where they often oppose the opposition NPP.

They are only “invited to IPAC just to dilute the discourse. I think that had been unfortunate”, he complained.

The Suame MP however expressed fears that court suits to challenge the rejection of the 13 nominees could derail the electoral calendar.

The EC could be “leading us into a Nigerian situation where elections had to be postponed” ,Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said.

The country has barely 56 days to go for the general elections. By constitutional requirement, elections in Ghana are fixed by law on December 7. Any other date beyond this would be illegal.

“That may be most unfortunate and a scary situation,” he added.

 

 

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