Ghana’s Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has called on the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa, to appear before the House over a proposed “controversial” Constitutional Instrument (CI).
The proposed C.I. by Ghana’s electoral management body makes the Ghana Card the sole identification document to be used to guarantee citizenship if passed.
Another requirement embodied in the proposed C.I., which generated heated arguments on the floor of Parliament, is that any person who wants to register do so at an EC district office.
On Thursday, February 23, 2023, the EC appeared before Parliament, represented by the Deputy Commissioner, Dr. Bossman Asare, but was opposed by the Minority Caucus in the House, which prompted some disagreements as Parliament sat deep into the night.
Among those who opposed the laying of the proposed CI were Tamale South Member of Parliament (MP) and immediate past Minority Leader, Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, who pointed out that the requirements in the proposed CI would disenfranchise Ghanaians.
The Minority Leader, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, also insisted that the NDC group in the House would prefer that Madam Jean Mensa make an appearance to give the house the needed assurances before the CI will proceed to its laying.
Dr. Forson said, “Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission is not here. I recognise Mr. Speaker that Deputy is here, but it is not the same as the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission. As we speak, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission has consistently avoided parliament.
We are of the view that we have raised today in this chamber since morning, as serious issues that we prefer and will want the electoral commissioner to be here to give us the needed assurances.”
But the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu objected to the Minority Leader’s demand and explained that the invitation sent out to the EC did not specifically request that Madam Jean Mensah herself appear before the House.
“The invitation was sent to two separate institutions and his preference and the preference of the Majority is that the two institutions should be represented by their heads. The Chairperson then gave an indication that the invitation was to the institutions and not to the Chairs,” he further noted.
The Speaker after listening to both sides, maintained that the proposed C.I. had serious implications, and therefore the EC Chairperson herself must appear before the House to make clarifications.