National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for South Dayi, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, has stated that the Electoral Commission’s decision not to carry out the ongoing limited voter registration exercise outside of its district offices is untenable.

The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs Jean Mensa says Parliament is partly to blame for their inability to expand the exercise because it failed to pass the new Constitutional Instrument, C.I that it presented for approval.

Addressing concerns and criticisms associated with the ongoing exercise, Mrs Jean Mensa said the Commission has been left in a very difficult place.

“As you are all aware, the Commission prepared a draft C.I for continuous registration in all district offices nationwide. This initiative started last year and the registration we were envisioning under the draft C.I was for a sustained long-term basis.

“Indeed, had the C.I been passed we would have had some six months this year to register voters at any time of their choice. Our 2023 budget and work plan were prepared along those lines. Our 2023 work-plan and budget were based on a continuous registration of voters in our district offices nationwide, we did not factor electoral area registration in our 2023 work plan and budget,” she explained.

Speaking on PM Express on Joy News on Wednesday, NDC MP for South Dayi explained why the EC’s use of the C.I. as an excuse is flawed.

“The EC Commissioner and her deputies lied against the institution of parliament. Sometime in November 2022, after the 2023 budget was read, the EC came to parliament with what they called Medium-Term Expenditure Framework as well as its budgetary expenditure for 2023. The MTEF run from 2023, 2024, 2025, and 2026 as its work program. Parliament never tainted anything in that work program. In addition to that, parliament approved the budget that the EC asked for. The EC actually asked for as much as GHS 386,047,606 as its budget for 2023.

“Out of that budget, the EC specifically asked for GHS 66, 059,846 as the budget for its continuous registration, and that is the language of the C.I. The EC never needs a new law in order to carry out its mandate as this present registration has demonstrated. The position of the minority has always been that you don’t need a new law to carry out your mandate. What does the existing law say about registration? If you go to C.I. 91, Regulation 2, sub-regulation 1(a) which is on registration centres, speaks of the fact that the EC can conduct registration at its district offices.

He further explained that, “in sub-regulation 2(2) it says that the EC in designating other registration centres may take certain factors into consideration especially access and convenience. In sub-regulation 2 sub-regulation 4 of C.1. as amended by C..I. 126, parliament was very clear that in granting that discretion to the Electoral Commission to designate additional registration centres, it could be abused. So what did parliament do? Parliament said, you must take into consideration the existing gazetted polling stations when you want to consider additional registration centers in the district.

Already, five political parties led by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have sued the Electoral Commission (EC) over the decision.

The agitated political parties are of the view that the decision by the EC to restrict the registration centres to the district offices has the potential to deprive many eligible voters of their right to be registered as voters and to vote in public elections.

Meanwhile, the Commission’s Director of Electoral Services, Dr. Serebour Quaicoe has explained that eligible voters who are unable to register in the Commission’s district offices nationwide would have to do so next year.

He said the EC will have special arrangements for hard-to-reach areas once it receives the legal backing of parliament for its Constitutional Instrument, C.I. According to him, the Commission will also carry out a continuous registration process in its offices that will serve would-be voters at any given time.

DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.

DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.