Parliament worried about botched dist. level polls

Mr-Edward-Doe-AdjahoSpeaker-of-Parliament-2Parliament on Tuesday expressed displeasure at the Electoral Commission (EC), for causing the suspension of the district level elections, which was slated for March 3.

Contributions from the Majority and Minority sides of the House minced no words in condemning the huge loss of more than GH¢300 million to the nation, as a result of the botched elections.

The EC has been under fire since the Supreme Court (SC) put the intended elections on ice.

An aspiring District Assembly member, Benjamin Eyi Mensah, who was denied the opportunity to file his nomination to contest the elections, proceeded to the Supreme Court to challenge the conduct of the election.

He averred that the EC illegally closed nominations before the maturation of Constitutional Instrument (CI) 85, a situation which prevented him from registering to contest in the election.

Per the country’s laws,  a CI can only mature after a mandatory 21 days sitting of Members of Parliament, and the SC declared the March 3 election as null and void.

The EC Chairman, Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan, who appeared before Parliament to explain the circumstances which led to failure of the polls, told a parliamentary closed door meeting that the EC require GH¢90 million to organise new elections in July.

Following the botched elections, President John Dramani Mahama had directed the current metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives,  to take temporary administrative and executive functions of the  assemblies, until the election and inauguration of new assembly and unit committee members.

Mr Kobina Tahiru Hammond, New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for  Adansi Asokwa, called on the top echelon of the EC to resign.

He said that the attitude of the EC gave the impression that it was not taking its responsibilities seriously, adding,  “The reality is that if they knew what their functions were, we’ll not be in this crisis”.

Mr Hammond urged the EC to heed the request to collate a new voters’ register, saying that if there has been a similar suit against the EC for failing to open the voters register in 2012, that year’s general election would have also been botched at a huge loss to the nation.

Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Wa West, however, urged colleagues to assess and apportion responsibility appropriately.

Mrs Eugenia Gifty Kusi (NPP-Tarkwa Nsuaem), expressed worry that there was no female member on the Special Committee on the 2015 District Assembly Elections Parliamentary Committee that met with the EC.

While supporting the motion for the adoption of the motion on the Report of the Special Committee on the 2015 District Assembly Elections, Mr David Tetteh Assumeng (NDC-Shai Osudoku) said there were signs that there would be difficulties with the elections.

He called for the strengthening of communication between Parliament and the EC.

The Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu (NPP-Suame),  said metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives sworn into office in March, had no constitutional mandate to act for the assembly members since their term of office had expired.

Alhaji Collins Dauda, Minister designate for Local Government and Rural Development,  said “as we try to avoid excesses and abuses,  we need to have the elections as early as possible.”

Mr Ebo Barton Odro, First Deputy Speaker (NDC-Cape Coast South), who sat in the chair, directed that the leadership of the House should meet with the Speaker and hold discussions on Article 298 of the 1992 constitution which spells out residual powers of Parliament.

- GNA

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