Parliament summons Afari Gyan

Dr.Afari-Gyan, Chairman,ECThe Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, will tomorrow appear before Parliament to explain the circumstances surrounding the suspension of the District Assemblies’ Elections by the Supreme Court.

The election was scheduled to take place yesterday but the E.C was, last Friday, directed by the Supreme Court to cancel all preparations and start everything afresh.

The First Deputy Speaker, Ebo Barton-Oduro, yesterday, issued an invitation to the E.C boss to appear before the House to brief members on the matter.

The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development has also been invited to brief the House on steps being taken by the government to address the matter.

The Supreme Court, on Thursday, barred the E.C from proceeding with the elections when a fisherman, Benjamin Eyi Mensah, took the E.C to court after the commission had refused to accept his nomination forms to contest in the election.

The court directed the E.C to start anew, the processes for the opening and picking of nomination forms and urged the Commission to accept the nomination forms from candidates who had earlier been rejected for presenting their forms late.

The Member of Parliament for Sekondi, Papa Owusu Ankomah, brought the issue on the floor, asking the First Deputy Speaker, who was in the chair, to invite the E.C to appear before the House and tell members the way forward with regard to the election.

He said the district assemblies would run into difficulties if the term of the current assembly members ends on March 15 without new members.

The Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said the failure of the EC to hold the elections before the expiration of the term of the current assembly members, would create problems for the assemblies.

Couple of years ago, he said a similar situation occurred and added that the District Chief Executives (DCEs) who were asked to hold the fort, mismanaged the funds allocated to them.

The minority leader argued that the EC might not be able to bring another Constitutional Instrument (C.I) until March 16 and added that even if the E.C brings a new C.I, it would not mature until the mandatory 21 sitting days had elapsed.

The Members of Parliament for Subin and Manhyia South, Isaac Osei and Mathew Opoku Prempeh, respectively, expressed concerns about how the public purse would be protected in the interim to prevent financial mismanagement in the assemblies.

The MP for Adansi Asokwa, Mr. K.T Hammond, accused the Chairman of the E.C of arrogance and indicated that the EC boss was advised by the members when the C.I was brought before the House but he ignored their advice.

However, the MP for Wa West, Joseph Yieleh Chireh, appealed to his colleagues not to be judgmental and called for copies of the Supreme Court’s ruling for the MPs to study.

By Yaw Kyei

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