Minority renews call for EC to appear before Parliament

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The Minority in Parliament has renewed calls for the Electoral Commission (EC) to appear before the House to provide updates on its plans for the 2020 election.

The call follows a motion filed in the House earlier this week by a Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, who is challenging the EC’s C.I. 126 seeking to amend C.I 91 to change the identification requirements for registering for a voter’s ID card.

If approved, the Constitutional Instrument will make the Ghana Card and Passports the only forms of identification to register to vote in Ghana.

Speaking on the Floor of Parliament, Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu underscored the urgent need for such an encounter with the EC.

“I think that we should see them with details. We need to interrogate their procurement issues, their budget issues post-COVID-19 and then have an understanding of what they intend to do in carrying the country along in discharging their mandate under the Constitution in conducting the 2020 presidential elections.”

“I want a definite assurance. When are they coming? Are they coming before the special budgets committee or the committee of the whole, because we need to know what is it they are coming to do.”

Meanwhile, Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu says leadership is engaging the EC about the possibility of appearing in Parliament next week.

“I’m waiting for a response which I believe will come by close of day for us to know exactly when next week if it is possible for us to meet in a closed sitting or the Committee of the whole or perhaps first meet with the Special Budget Committee,” he said.

Parliament approves GHS390m budget for EC

Parliament had approved a budget amount of over GHS390 million for the Electoral Commission to conduct the voter registration exercise ahead of the 2020 national elections.

Documents sighted,show the amount will be expended on procurement, recruitment, training, data processing, publicity and allowances.

Over GHS161 million is expected to be spent on allowances of registration officials while the procurement of materials is expected to cost over GHS 156 million.

The overall budget approved for the Commission’s activities this year stands at GHS1.3 billion, down from GHS 1.8 billion approved in 2016.

The registration exercise was expected to span between April and May 2020 but that has been affected due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Voter registration exercise to go on

The EC has come under a lot of criticism over its decision to proceed with the compilation of a new voters’ register ahead of the 2020 elections despite the outbreak of COVID-19.

The EC has said that it will observe the necessary safety protocols if the time comes for the registration exercise to commence but addressing the media at the NDC’s headquarters in Accra on Thursday, May 21, 2020, Director of Elections for opposition National Democratic Congress, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah was sceptical about the safety measures put in place by the EC.

“The National Identification Authority stopped registration when we had 200 cases and now you want to register 17 to 18 million people in forty days. My brothers and sisters, let’s be honest here and put NDC, NPP aside and ask if this is realistic? Is this sound?”

“Are they going to determine how many people will come from their homes to register? So people will be outside the registration centre and their people (EC Officials) will be in PPE? What about the citizens? Will they give everyone PPE?  And how will they determine if someone has COVID-19 or not? These are practical commonsensical issues that we want Ghanaians to think of. Won’t they escalate the positive cases in the country?”

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