Don’t blame Parliament if November voting fails – OB Amoah
Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament, OB Amoah, has said the law-making body should not be blamed if Ghana is unable to vote in November.
To him, the blame should be placed at the doorsteps of the Electoral Commission and the Attorney General's Department, saying “if you had come earlier we would have worked on it [CI] earlier.”
The Subsidiary Legislation Committee is the supervisory team mandated to assist the EC to make the necessary amendments to the Constitution to allow Ghanaians to vote in November instead of December.
According to OB Amoah, the Electoral Commission has delayed in bringing their documents to Parliament to have the legal backing.
Parliament is expected to go on recess on July 29 to enable Members of Parliament to campaign ahead of the elections, but it is unclear whether they would be allowed to go.
This is because the Constitutional Instrument (LI) for the election has not yet matured.
Speaking on the Point Blank segment on Eyewitness News, OB Amoah said, Parliamentarians would have to sit on weekends for the CI to mature.
“If we stick to the 29th July, the CI would not have matured so if you want to add Saturdays or Sundays we will have to stay in till August, it's for leadership to decide. And the fact that you have decided does not mean that you may even have the numbers. Whether we like it or not, people want to go and campaign.”
“Who do you blame? For Parliament, if you don't bring your papers there, we cannot do anything about it and you heard the leadership complaining about this long time ago. Until you come and lay your regulations and instruments, Parliament cannot do anything.”
He said though the Speaker may intervene and allow for sittings on weekends, “the sense and the mode of the house is that people are not interested. People go to their constituencies and if you want to take their Saturdays and Sundays just for regulations to mature, he may go on Friday and refuse to come back.”
The Chairman also noted that, all these could have been avoided.
“You knew you had three months to play with, another 30 days… Parliament could have drawn their timetable and carried extensive consultation, second reading, and third reading so these are the constraints. If you all agree that we should vote in November then we should know the tight rope that we are walking, and then you don't finish the election and say that the Electoral Commission didn't do ABC.”
“If you don't have the numbers in the House what are doing?”
Situation very tight
OB Amoah further explained that, they are in a tight position because Ghana has only four months to the polls yet the CI and the necessary processes are not yet ready.
“The situation is looking tight. It is looking tight in the sense that, if you pick a situation where Parliament by two thirds majority agrees that we should have elections on 7th November, because of the situation, there should be another CI immediately after that process to be laid in Parliament, just to be able to bring the days together. As we speak, we hold elections on 7th December. For parliament, that is a constitutional requirement. For presidential, you can shift the date because it's between one month to four months.”
“Now if you are amending to have the parliamentary more flexible, so that you can shift it to November, it means you have to shift the presidential one too to November, and you have to back it with a constitutional instrument. And if you want to do that, then you need a 21-sitting days. Does it mean that Parliament would have to sit to get these 21 sitting days or Parliament would have to go and come back. And anytime that you don't get your CI in place, it means the process is delaying. Those are the legal issues that must be addressed and even the logistics and procurement and all those things, so it's looking very tight.”
By: Godwin A. Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana