If NPP wants to take partisan stance on Nov. 7 elections date

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    Policy analyst, Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby has risen to the defense of the Electoral Commission on the matter of legislating the new elections date of November 7.

    He says the EC has done its work by consulting widely and gazetting the law requesting a constitutional amendment to bring forward the election date.

    Constitutionally, Ghana’s Presidential and Parliamentary elections are to be held on December 7.

    This has proven challenging especially in election cycles where there are run-offs because no presidential candidate obtained the constitutionally required 50% plus one vote to be validly elected as president.

    This was the case in the years 2000 and 2008 where a second round of voting was needed to determine the winner of the presidential poll.

    In those cases, little time was left for the transition who by the dictates of the constitution has to be done on January 7.

    In view of this, the EC announced last year its determination to change the law and hold the elections a month earlier, that is November 7.

    Majority Leader Alban Sumana Bagbin Tuesday raised questions about the speed of the process of legislating the proposal.

    He told Joy News, that the Amendment bill must be gazetted twice. After it is first gazetted, a period of three months is needed before the second gazette.

    It takes 10 days after the second gazette after which the bill is pushed to the Council of State for further consideration until it finally comes back to parliament.

    In parliament, the MPs are required to hold wide consultation with the public before a vote is cast.

    Unlike other bills, this amendment bill needs a super-majority before it can become law. It means if any side of the divide has issues with the bill, the whole deal to change the date is scuttled.

    And the Minority appears to have issues.

    Deputy Minority Leader and MP for Bilbilla, Dominic Nitiwul raised questions about the posturing of the Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Charlotte Osei.

    “At times she is cheeky’, Ntiwul complained and it is ‘very clear’ that Charlotte Osei is leaning towards the ruling party, NDC.

    He said under her leadership non-functional parties have been ‘resurrected’ to oppose the NPP during meetings of all political parties with the EC, known as IPAC.

    He cited the moribund Reformed Party formed by Gossie Tanoh in 1999 who broke away from the NDC.

    The party has not contested any election for the past 16 years but now sits at the table at IPAC meetings.

    The Deputy Minority leader also reminded that the EC has a court order to remove some names from the voters' register and re-register others.

    Cleaning the voters’ register could affect the Electoral Commission’s plans to get a law passed to change the date. “We shouldn’t take things for granted,” he warned.

    Dr. Wereko-Brobby in a tweet said, “Nov7 date is agreed by all parties. Draft Bill already gazetted. If NPP wants to [take] partisan stance, don't blame EC.”

    He said Mr. Nitiwul’s comments were unfortunate and amounted to blackmailing the EC Chairperson over a matter which has been generally agreed as good for Ghana.  

    The proposal to hold the election on November 7, he argued on Joy FM's Super Morning Show, emanated from the recommendations of the Constitution Review Commission and has been widely accepted.

    Contributing to the discussion, Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey, when amending the constitution, all parties must put partisanship aside.

    Accusations of political leanings against the EC Chairperson, he said, have no place in the process of amending the law to hold the elections on Nov. 7.

    “If they have issues, they have to find another forum to handle that and not use the constitutional amendment process,” he said.


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