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01.10.2003 NDC News

NDC asks govt not to usurp the powers of EC

By GNA
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Accra, Sept. 30, GNA - The National Democratic Congress Minority caucus in Parliament on Tuesday stated that the government's usurpation of the Electoral Commission (EC) duty to procure electoral materials for the 2004 presidential and parliamentary elections was an affront to democratic governance and subversive of the constitutional order.
The NDC Minority in Parliament has in a statement signed by its spokesman on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, said it noted "with utter dismay and disappointment the brazenly unconstitutional manner in which the NPP administration is seeking to impose its will and control over the operations of the EC in its preparations towards the upcoming 2004 Presidential and Parliamentary elections".
The Minority said the Cabinet directive that a procurement committee comprising representation from the office of the Chief of Staff, the Office of the Attorney General, the Ministry of Finance and the Electoral Commission be instituted to supervise the procurement of electoral materials for the said elections was a move by the government to handle the election issue unknown under the constitution.
Quoting Article 46 of the Constitution, which provides that "Except as provided in this Constitution, or in any other law not inconsistent with this Constitution, in the performance of its functions, the Electoral Commission, shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority."
The Minority said the Cabinet's directive did not "only violate the very letter of the Constitution but it is also incompatible with the spirit of the Constitution and pristine democratic principles of governance which seek to promote free and fair elections".
The Minority congratulated "the Electoral Commission for its show of positive defiance by rejecting the attempt by government to usurp the powers of the Electoral Commission and thus wantonly invade the Constitutional space of an otherwise independent body".
It recalled a recent similar attempt by the NPP administration to browbeat the Electoral Commission to abandon its then legally sanctioned role in the issue of citizenship identity cards and the heroic resistance mounted by the Electoral Commission.
The Minority assured the Electoral Commission of its staunch support in its just struggle to resist the slide to unconstitutionality and undemocratic interference.
It called on all patriotic and well-meaning Ghanaians to openly condemn the subtle attempts by the government to undermine the Electoral Commission in its efforts to entrench democracy in the country.
The statement called on President John Agyekum Kufuor to ensure that his government severely distances itself from any temptation to interfere in the electoral process and to endeavour to uphold the integrity and vibrancy of the democratic order, which has been nurtured so far.


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