The Electoral Commission (EC) Chief, Jean Mensa, must come before the House to address the contentious suggested Constitutional Instrument (CI), according to Speaker of the House Alban Bagbin.
If adopted, the freshly suggested instrument by the EC would make the Ghana Card the only form of identity acceptable as proof of citizenship.
The CI also stipulates that anyone wishing to register must do so at an EC district office.
Deputy Commissioner Bossman Asare, who represented the EC in Parliament on Thursday, February 23, encountered opposition from the Opposition Caucus, which led to some arguments as lawmakers debated late into the night.
Haruna Iddrisu, a Tamale South MP, was one of those who resisted the construction of the new CI and argued that Ghanaians would be disenfranchised by its standards.
Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, the minority leader, maintained that the NDC party in the House would prefer that Madam Jean Mensa appear to provide the necessary guarantees to the house prior to the CI’s laying.
“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” Minority Leader stated.
Dr Ato continued “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”
The Minority Leader’s claim was rejected by the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who also pointed out that Madam Jean Mensah’s appearance before the House was not explicitly requested in the summons sent to the EC.
According to the Suame lawmaker, “the invitation was to two institutions and that 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 indeed to the institutions and not to the Chairs.”
Despite the Majority Leader’s explanation, the Speaker insisted that the new CI had severe ramifications and that the EC Chairperson herself needed to come before the House to provide explanations.
Speaper Bagbin stated that “The Deputy Chairperson in charge of operation is quite high enough, but he cannot be giving the assurances that the Chairperson will give. In the circumstances, I will be compelled to adjourn the house”.
The Speaker insisted that the EC be represented at the highest level and together, they will find solutions to the issue because it’s very, very important for the peace, the security and the development of the state.