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'It's barefaced lie' – Minority tackles Jean Mensa on budgetary excuse for 'deliberately-bungled voter registration exercise'

  Tue, 19 Sep 2023
Headlines 'It's barefaced lie' – Minority tackles Jean Mensa on budgetary excuse for 'deliberately-bungled voter registration exercise'
TUE, 19 SEP 2023 LISTEN

Minority Caucus has described as a "barefaced lie", Electoral Commission Chair Jean Mensa's excuse that the elections management body is operating on a low budget, thus, the restriction of the ongoing 21-day voter registration exercise to just the Commission's 268 district offices.

"One of the false, weak and wishy-washy excuses the EC Chair, Madam Jean Adukwei Mensa sought to canvass at her press conference yesterday to justify the EC's dogged determination to suppress first-time voters, is her claim that the Commission is acting within the constraints of its work-plan and budget as approved by Parliament", Minority Chief Whip Kwame Governs Agbodza has said.

"Nothing could be further from the truth than this barefaced lie which once again betrays the sinister and ulterior motive by this Jean Mensa/Bossman Asare-led EC to frustrate first-time voters", Mr Agbodza said in a write-up produced in full below:

Minority Chief Whip, Hon. Kwame Governs Agbodza writes;

DONT USE PARLIAMENT TO JUSTIFY YOUR VOTER SUPPRESSION STRATEGY

One of the false, weak and wishy-washy excuses the EC Chair, madam Jean Adukwei Mensa sought to canvass at her press conference yesterday to justify the EC's dogged determination to suppress first-time voters, is her claim that the Commission is acting within the constraints of its work-plan and budget as approved by Parliament.

Nothing could be further from the truth than this barefaced lie which once again betrays the sinister and ulterior motive by this Jean Mensa/Bossman Asare-led EC to frustrate first-time voters.

The Commissioner's attempt to once again draw in Parliament into the ongoing discussions about the EC's deliberately-bungled voter registration exercise is pathetic to say the least. Parliament in considering the Electoral Commission's budgetary estimates for 2023, its Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) from 2023 - 2026 and the Electoral Commission's actual Appropriation for 2023, did not take a pesewa out of the Commission's requests. It is therefore highly contrived to seek to introduce Parliament in a bid to justify its unpopular and unreasonable decision to restrict the registration of voters to its District Offices.

Indeed, both Appendix 4A (MDA Expenditure Allocation) of the 2023 Budget Statement, and the Third Schedule of the Appropriations Act 2022 (Act 1090), as well as the EC's own Programme-Based Budget Estimates contained in its MTEF, put the EC's total budget for 2023 at GHS386,047,606. Out of this figure, the EC budgeted a rounded figure of GHS56,059,846 for registration of voters in 2023.

It is important to state that the Electoral Commission's budgetary allocation for 2023 is far more than all the budgetary allocations of the Ministry of Information and its Agencies, the National Development Planning Commission, the National Media Commission, the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, and the Right to Information Commission, put together.

It must also be emphasised that not a penny of the EC's budget was varied to its disadvantage as the Commissioner sought to claim yesterday and this is evidenced in their appropriation. Her claim that the ongoing drudgery she has put Ghanaians through has to do with budgetary constraints is one that must be treated with utmost contempt.

There can be no justification on the part of an Electoral Commission that is hell-bent on disenfranchising voters by placing strictures and fetters on the inalienable right of Ghanaians to register to vote in public elections and referenda, instead of implementing programs to expand that right as it is enjoined by law to do.

Jean Mensa will not be allowed to use Parliament as a convenient excuse for her lawless conduct and as representatives of the people, we will soon be demanding accountability from her and the other Commissioners.

Kwame Governs Agbodza (MP)
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