The Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei Mensa Bonsu has justified the decision of the Electoral Commission to compile a new voters’ register for the 2020 polls.
His comments follow the approval and maturity of the Public Elections Amendment Regulations (C.I 126).
“The Electoral Commission is the custodian of their own document and they are telling us that the Charlotte Osei-led Commission who were charged with that responsibility could not do that and they have inherited a more or less contaminated system,” he said on Eyewitness News.
Mr. Mensa Bonsu also attributed the seeming division in the House over new requirements for the compilation of a new voters’ register to partisanship.
Parliament had to vote on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, to allow the Electoral Commission (EC) to use the Ghana Card and Passports as the only forms of identification for persons registering to vote.
The vote occurred after the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye, granted a request from the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu for a division.
The legislators voted in a 102 to 96 decision in favour of the amendment of the Constitutional Instrument.
The Majority Leader felt the House was unable to reach a consensus on the new requirements because some members of Parliament had politicized issues surrounding the amendment of the Constitutional Instrument (C.I) empowering the EC to organise elections in the country.
“One expects that especially at the level of committee business, there will be less partisanship. Unfortunately, in this particular matter that was referred to the Subsidiary Legislation Committee, partisan politics have already been taken. The Subsidiary Legislation Committee has been polarised and indeed there was a line drawn on party lines. We have had to contend with it and deal with the substance.”
The Subsidiary Legislation Committee, which considered the amendment, could not arrive at a consensus as to whether the exclusion of a driver’s license and the existing voter ID from the amendment was constitutional.
But according to its report, it recommended by majority decision the passing of the amendment.
Per the Constitutional Instrument that was first put before Parliament, “a person who applies for registration as a voter shall provide as evidence of identification one of the following: a passport, a national identification card, or one voter registration identification guarantee form as set out in Form one of the schedule that has been completed and signed by two registered voters.”
The Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga, had attempted getting the House to reject the amendment through a motion that was rejected by the Speaker of Parliament.
The National Identification Authority will also begin issuing the remaining printed Ghana Cards on June 10.
This has led to concerns from observers and political stakeholders who claim that a significant number of Ghanaians will be disenfranchised because the National Identification Authority is yet to complete its registration exercise.
Minority MPs and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have also accused the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) of conniving with the EC and the NIA to rig the 2020 elections.