Afari-Gyan condemned: faces MPs on failed assembly polls

Parliament has invited the Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan to appear before it tomorrow to explain the circumstances that led to the failed District Level Elections.
The Supreme Court on Friday February 27, 2015 declared the district level elections unconstitutional, compelling the EC to suspend activities towards the March 3 polls.
The seven-member panel of the highest court of the land further ordered the EC to open nominations again for the assembly elections.
It has also come out that there were no regulations for the opening and closure of nominations for the assembly elections.
Before the commencement of public business in Parliament yesterday, the Member for Sekondi, Papa Owusu Ankomah urged the Speaker of Parliament to invite Dr. Afari-Gyan for him to tell the House what led to the cancellation of the elections and the way forward.
According to him, the botched elections had serious constitutional implications for the effective running of the district assemblies since the tenure of current assembly and unit committee members would end on March 15, 2015.
Consequently, First Deputy Speaker Ebo Barton-Odro who presided over proceedings issued the invitation to the EC Chairman, requesting him to appear before the House on Thursday March 5, 2015 to brief the House on the issue.
He also invited the Ministers of Finance and Local Government and Rural Development to appear on the same day to inform the House on the way forward to prevent constitutional vacuum in the assemblies as well as immediate release of funds for fresh processes leading to the polls.
Mr. Barton-Odro also directed the Clerk to Parliament, Emmanuel Anyimadu, to secure a copy of the ruling of the Supreme Court for the perusal of members.
Earlier, Minority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu bemoaned that the failure of the EC to hold the elections had serious implications for the functioning of the district assemblies.
He recalled that four years ago, the district assembly elections were held back for some other reasons, a situation which led the government asking district chief executives to ” hold the fort” in their respective districts.
According to him, funds were mismanaged during the period because there were no checks and balances by assembly members and this, he said, must not be allowed to recur.
The Minority Leader who is also the MP for Suame said information available to him indicated the EC would not be able to bring another Constitutional Instrument before the House until March 16, this year.
He said if the law was adhered to, it meant that the CI would not mature until the mandatory 21 sitting days had elapsed.
“Mr. Speaker, this means that the CI will mature in May,” he said adding that the situation would allow for the recurrence of the malfeasance witnessed four years ago in the district assemblies.
The member for Subin, Mr. Isaac Osei, said the ministers of Local Government and Rural Development and Finance needed to tell the House about checks and balances they would put in place in the interim to protect the public purse.
The member for Manhyia South, Dr. Matthew Opoku-Prempeh suggested that since the processes leading to the elections, after the EC had followed the recommendations of the court, would involve the release of money, the Ministry of Finance needed to state what steps it had put in place to ensure the smooth release of funds.
The Member for Wa West, Joseph Yieleh Chireh, urged MPs not to be judgmental and called for copies of the ruling by the Supreme Court to be made available to members for perusal and comment.
The Deputy Majority Leader, Alfred Agbesi, said aspiring assembly members felt let down by the EC and added that commission’s conduct was unacceptable.
The member for Adansi Asokwa, K.T. Hammond, kicked against the appearance of the EC Chairman before the House.
He accused Dr. Afari-Gyan of arrogance and disrespect because he ignored advice from Parliament to ensure that the right thing was done.

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