The Electoral Commission (EC) is to brief Parliament next week on measures it is taking to conduct the 2020 general elections, the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has said.
Speaking in Parliament on Friday, he stated that he engaged members of the commission on Thursday and they assured him that they would get back to him by close of Friday [May 22] on when they would come to Parliament to update legislators on preparations towards the elections.
“Indeed the Chairman of the Special Budget Committee also came to me and, I said he should also do his own checks but I have used a straight path to engage and I am waiting for response which I believe would come by the close of day,” he said.
Responding to questions on when the EC would appear to update Members of Parliament on steps the commission was taking to conduct this year’s elections, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said “next week, possibly, we shall meet.”
“If it is possible to meet in a close sitting or the Committee of the Whole or perhaps first the Special Budget Committee which has direct responsibility, we will do what is needful,” he assured.
The Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, and the MP for Adaklu, Mr Kwame Agbodza, had asked the Majority Leader when the EC would come to the House to update lawmakers on the preparation the EC was taking to ensure the conduct of free and fair general elections in 2020.
Responding, the Leader of Government Business assured Parliament that the programme the EC intended to follow in the conduct of this year’s elections was clearly set out in the budget the commission submitted to Parliament.
EC must come to update us
Mr Agbodza told the House that with the 2020 general elections just a few months away, it has generated so much talk about what the EC was doing and not doing and therefore, it was important for the EC Chairperson to appear in the House to update members on what she or the commission was doing to ensure free and fair elections in December.
He, therefore, appealed to the leadership of the House to invite the EC chair to appear before the House “so that we can elicit information we can get from her.”
“Mr Speaker, anything short of this would have been an act of preventing MPs, as people’s representatives, the opportunity to interact with the EC so that we can report to our constituents to prepare adequately for this year’s elections.
“The Electoral Commission (EC) will update Parliament next week on its preparation towards the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections, the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs”, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has said.
Backing the call for the EC to update the House, Mr Iddrisu said while the Majority Leader had assured him of steps he had initiated to get the EC to come to the House, the appearance of the EC Chairperson would enable the House to interrogate the EC’s procurement and budget concerns as well as post Covid-19 measures.
That, he said, would allow legislators to have an understanding of what the commission intended to do in “carrying the country along in discharging their mandate under the constitution in conducting the 2020 general elections.
“The Majority Leader has assured me. So I want definite assurance when the EC is coming. Are they coming before the Special Budget Committee or they are coming before the Committee of the Whole because we all need to know what it is that we need to do.”
“If they have an additional instrument, we need to programme it in order that we can meet the mandatory 21 sitting days required of them. We have to know all their constitutional instruments are intact and in place for that purpose,” he stated.
Source: Graphic Online