Minority clashes with Majority for trying to ‘smuggle’ new CI into business statement
The minority vowed to reject the business statement for the second week in parliament ending Friday, February 17, 2023.
On Friday, February 10, 2023, after the Deputy Majority leader, Alexander Afenyo Markin read the business statement for next week, the minority leader, Caissel Ato Forson, raised concerns that the agenda that was discussed did not include Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2023.
“… Mr Speaker at the meeting, I have a copy of the draft of the agenda we discussed. But to my surprise, I have seen an introduction of the C1 which was never discussed at the business committee meeting. But the deputy majority leader who did not attend business committee meeting stood here and made a pronouncement that this was agreed upon. Mr Speaker I am deeply disappointed in the Clerks for allowing this to be smuggled into a business statement. This can never be allowed.
Read – EC to lay new C.I before Parliament
“Mr Speaker if that is the way this administration of the house, Mr Speaker this side of the house is ready for them,” Ato Forson said.
The Public Elections (registration of Voters) Regulations, 2023 was captioned in page 4 (iii)(e) of presentation of papers.
The Deputy Minority Chief Whip, Ahmed Banda, who described the business statement as a smuggled report said the house will not entertain it in the chamber.
Mr. Banda added that the Deputy Majority Chief Whip in parliament, Frank Annor Dompreh, had indicated they would smuggle the CI in the business statement and he truly did.
He added that the was a directive that the EC chairperson should appear before the house and brief them on the CI which includes the rationale behind the CI.
Ahmed Banda said the EC chairperson did not appear before the house and yet the issue has still been brought into the business statement.
In response, Alexander Afenyo-Markin said that the report should not be rejected if the minority merely disagrees but that it should be put on hold.
“Sometimes when your brother disagrees with you and you believe in a solution, you could grant us a temporal leave. Today is Friday. I will want to yield to the views expressed that we place the issue of the CI on ice for now. In other words, it won’t be part of the report,” Afenyo-Markin added.
The Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu in his ruling said the majority did not deny that the CI was not part of the business arranged for the week.
“So, what has not been agreed should be excluded and if you discuss and you agree. The leader can make another statement on what was agreed. So, lets exclude what was not part of the business arrange of the week and proceed with what has been arranged for the week,” Joe Wise said.
Engage leadership of Parliament or forget new C.I – Speaker to EC
In October 2022, the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin vowed to stop the laying of a new constitutional instrument (CI) if the Electoral Commission fails to seek audience with the leadership of parliament.
The commission announced the new C.I which seeks to make the Ghana Card the only proof of nationality for its impending limited registration exercise which will soon be presented to parliament.
The move has attracted stiff opposition from the NDC and some civil society groups.