The Minority Chief Whip, Kwame Governs Agbodza, has described as “barefaced lie” assertions by the Chair of the Electoral Commission, Ghana (EC) that Parliament is partly to be blamed for conducting the ongoing limited voter registration exercise in its district offices.
On Monday, September 18, Jean Mensa told journalists that budgetary constraint is partly to be blamed for the inability to have the exercise done in electoral areas, as widely demanded.
“As you are all aware, the Commission prepared a draft C.I for continuous registration in all district offices nationwide,” Mrs Mensa said.
“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.”
But in a write-up on Tuesday, September 19 to respond to Mrs Mensa, the Adaklu Member of Parliament (MP) said not a penny of EC’s budget was varied to its disadvantage.
“The Commissioner’s attempt to once again draw in Parliament into the ongoing discussions about the EC’s deliberately-bungled voter registration exercise is pathetic to say the least,” he wrote.
“Parliament in considering the Electoral Commission’s budgetary estimates for 2023, its Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) from 2023 – 2026 and the Electoral Commission’s actual Appropriation for 2023, did not take a pesewa out of the Commission’s requests.
“It is therefore highly contrived to seek to introduce Parliament in a bid to justify its unpopular and unreasonable decision to restrict the registration of voters to its District Offices.”
He revealed that the EC’s budgetary allocation for 2023 “is far more than all the budgetary allocations of the Ministry of Information and its Agencies, the National Development Planning Commission, the National Media Commission, the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, and the Right to Information Commission, put together”.
“It must also be emphasized that not a penny of the EC’s budget was varied to its disadvantage as the Commissioner sought to claim yesterday and this is evidenced in their appropriation.
“Her claim that the ongoing drudgery she has put Ghanaians through has to do with budgetary constraints is one that must be treated with utmost contempt.
“There can be no justification on the part of an Electoral Commission that is hell-bent on disenfranchising voters by placing strictures and fetters on the inalienable right of Ghanaians to register to vote in public elections and referenda, instead of implementing programs to expand that right as it is enjoined by law to do.
“Jean Mensa will not be allowed to use Parliament as a convenient excuse for her lawless conduct and as representatives of the people, we will soon be demanding accountability from her and the other Commissioners.”