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Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament endorses Electoral Commission CI

The Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament by a majority decision of 12-9 has recommended that plenary adopted and approved recommendations contained in its yet-to-be-tabled report on the Electoral Commission (EC)’s Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) 126.

The Commission’s instrument which would govern the December polls seeks to limit the breeder document for registration as a voter to the passport and Ghana Card or alternatively, a registered voter vouching for at most 10 applicants. 

Set to mature on June 9 and come to force on June 10, the Committee’s report on the CI is expected to be laid before plenary, where a debate would precede its adoption or otherwise. 

A source within the Committee, after Wednesday’s meeting where the vote was taken on the controversial CI, told the Ghanaian Times that the vote was necessitated as a result of the lack of consensus on the CI. 

He said whilst the Minority on the Committee favoured a rejection of the CI, the Majority caucus backed the Instrument, because it would give birth to a credible register. 

“We the Majority agreed that the report should be accepted by the House but the Minority rejected it, and we had to vote on it, leading to a 12-9 majority decision,” the source which pleaded anonymity said. 

Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga, who has filed a motion in the office of the Speaker arguing that the CI be rejected, according to the source, had to slug it out with officials of the EC in a debate preceding the vote. 

He maintained that citizenship which is determined by birth in Ghana, amongst others, makes the birth certificate, which gives an account of a person’s birth records, a valid document to get an applicant onto the yet to be complied voters’ register. 

A disappointed Mahama Ayariga, speaking on an Accra-based FM station after the meeting said, should plenary go ahead to approve the recommendations of the Committee he once chaired, he would proceed to the Supreme Court for a determination. 

“I am saying that the institution by legislation with the authority to certify that a person was born in Ghana at any given time is the Birth and Death Registry. 

“So it is not possible for a CI, which seeks to implement Article 42 to refuse to include in what you need to prove your eligibility, a certificate from the Births and Deaths Registry. Absolutely impossible. It is restrictive of my right, because I need to prove to the Electoral Commission that, I am a citizen and 18 years of age. 

“I’m saying that by the laws of Ghana, the primary document that proves that I was born in Ghana at a given time is the birth certificate.

“If come Tuesday, the CI comes into force, I will go to court, to get a court order for the EC to accept my birth certificate as evidence of my eligibility to be registered as a voter,” Mr Ayariga argued. 

But Yaw Buaben Asamoa, MP, Adentan and Communications Director of the governing party said Mr Ayariga’s argument does not hold water. 

“Much as Mahama Ayariga delivers scholarship on the birth certificate as a good primary document for registration, this, according to our rules, could not be adopted because we are proceeding by amendment of CI 91. 

“If you are amending the parent document, you cannot import and add new things which are over and above the parent document,” he said, stating that the birth certificate has never been used as a breeder document for the compilation of any voter register post 1992. 

First laid on March 16, 2020, the CI had to be withdrawn and re-laid on two occasions after the Committee detected defects in the instrument on those two occasions.

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