By Iddi Yire
Accra, Feb 24, GNA – Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin has directed Mrs Jean Mensa, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), to brief Parliament on the Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2022.
The Speaker gave the directive on the floor of the House after a meeting of the Committee of the Whole with the Electoral Commission (EC) and the National Identification Authority (NIA) on the Draft Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2023, and the status of the ECOWAS Identification Card Registration (Ghana Card).
The absence of the EC Chairperson at the Committee of the Whole led to a disruption of the meeting, resulting in a conclave with the Speaker by the Leadership of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) Majority and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Minority.
When the House later resumed, the Speaker said they wanted the three parties (the EC, the NIA and the Ministry of Finance) to come and share information with them as to how to solve the challenges confronting the House before they grant permission for the CI to be laid.
Speaker Bagbin said the report of the Special Budget Committee on the Draft Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2022, talked about the EC and the NIA.
He said because the issues bordered on budget, resources, logistics, and the creation of additional hot Centres, it was important to invite the Minister for Finance to address some of the issues.
“So, we wanted the Minister to be available at the Committee of the Whole to discuss with you how they were going to get the necessary resources, the money to be able to make sure that the thing is implemented,” he said.
“Failing that, we were to prevail on the EC to add to the CI some clauses that could in the meantime take of these challenges and that is where the guarantor clause was being asked to be inserted in the case at the end of the day we couldn’t get the NIA to provide the ID cards to a larger, we are looking were at about 90 per cent of qualified or eligible voters in the country.”
He said that was the purpose of the meeting of the Committee of the Whole; saying “I think we’ve not been able to achieve this and we stayed the whole day up to this time”.
He said if the House wanted to invite personalities, they must take it up, however, their communications were to institutions.
“Truly the issues involved are so key that you expect that the institutions will be represented at the highest authority in the institutions,” he said.
“In the case of the electoral Commission that is not the case and references were made to past conducts of the Chairperson herself.
“But that is not to say that the Institution erred because the invitation was to the institution and the Deputy Chairperson in charge of Operations is quite high enough to represent the Institution but he cannot be giving the assurance that the Chairperson is supposed to give.”
The Speaker also directed the meeting of the Committee of the Whole Meeting with the EC and the NIA to be held again early next week.
Speaker Bagbin said due to an urgent national assignment, the Finance Minister would not be available to participate in the Meeting, however, he would be represented by his Deputy.
“We will insist that the EC be represented at the highest level and together we will find a solution to this. It is very important for the peace, the security and the development of this nation,” the Speaker said.
“So, please, don’t let us fiddle with this matter.”