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EC must be grateful to Minority for rejecting Nov 7 date – OB Amoah

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Aburi-Nsawam says the Minority’s rejection of a proposal to hold elections early is to help the Electoral Commission (EC) to prepare well.

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Aburi-Nsawam says the Minority’s rejection of a proposal to hold elections early is to help the Electoral Commission (EC) to prepare well.

Opposition politician Osei Bonsu Amoah says the EC will thank the Minority later when it discovers that rejecting the November proposal and sticking to the December status quo is in the interest of the EC itself.

“We have rather helped the EC. If they will be sincere to themselves, we have rather helped the EC very much” OB Amoah said.

The Minority in Parliament is having to explain why it voted against the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2016 after backing the plan to reject it from day one.

The Bill needed the Minority support to obtain the 184 votes required to amend an entrenched clause in the 1992 Constitution.

The essence of the bill was to allow the government to use 60 days to prepare for handing over on January 7 of the next year and not the current 30 days, which it believed to be insufficient.

While the Minority maintains it supports the change in principle, the caucus says it is dismayed at what they believe is a lackadaisical attitude of the EC in preparing for the elections.

If the Bill is passed to change the date, the Minority fears it will put undue pressure on the EC to hurry up, cut corners and possibly jeopardize the credibility of the elections.

According to OB Amoah, the EC is just not ready for elections in November.

He mentioned the challenges to include procurement, constitutional and training which are all yet to be addressed by the EC.

Picking up on the constitutional hurdle, OB Amoah said a Constitutional Instrument before Parliament that details how the election is to be run has not even matured.

The CI needs 21 sitting days to mature before it can become operational. The EC would now have to train its officers on the CI, he said.

“If you don’t have the law, which law are you going to use to train the officers? Ask them how votes are supposed to be transferred they don’t have a clue because they changed the law and they have not even told their officers” he claimed.

 “With all due respect you can ask any official of the EC whether they have regulations for this year and what are in the regulations. They don’t even know because it is now that they have brought it to parliament for us to pass it”, he expressed disappointment.

“If you are going to do elections and the even your regulations on elections then how do you tell the whole world you are ready?,” OB Amoah quizzed.

OB Amoah explained that the EC had missed its own timelines in preparing for the general elections in November. He said although the EC is confident about is preparedness, the facts show otherwise.

“EC already is behind its own calendar. It was six weeks late to do limited registration exercise. The exhibition exercise that we are doing now we should have done it months ago” he said on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Friday.

OB Amoah said the consensus to move the date was reached as far back as 2011 by the recommendation of the Constitutional Review Commission.

Yet it has taken more than four years to bring the date change to Parliament for a vote. It took only one day for the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee to review the report on the date change, he claimed.

“Is that the fault of parliament” if the bill fails?… if you have time and you burn it, how do you recover?” he said.

OB Amoah argued that while it is important to have adequate time for handing-over, it makes no sense to sacrifice a credible election for a smooth transition.

“What is the point of having shoddy elections and saying that we have more time for transition” he wondered.

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