First Deputy Minority whip, Ahmed Ibrahim has called on Parliament to consider three critical and controversial issues before the House goes on recess for the Christmas break as the whole nation awaits the passing of appropriation.
According to him the House wants to engage with the Electoral Commission (EC) for briefing on a proposed constitutional instrument which is going to affect their constituents and a request for the EC to appear before the committee of the whole to ensure their constituents are not disenfranchised.
He said when that request was put in, Leader of the House was of the opinion that the special budget committee have a look at that and when they are done a report will be presented to the House for members to be informed or take a decision on the way forward.
“That report, has not been considered by the House and when the EC chair appeared before the Committee, which I am a member, she could not convince members; the committee was of the view that the EC and the National Identification Authority (NIA) should reappear before the committee for reconciliation because the report has not been taken and that meeting has not taken place”.
The second issue is the meeting with the NIA officials, stating that when the committee of the whole meets it has to generate a report; that report has also not been considered. There are two critical reports pending and those two meetings.
Members wanted to know the data status of the National Identification Authority, the status of the EC to be able to reconcile the two. And if the business committee report for next week and it has not been programmed, I want to suggest to the chairman of the business committee to programme the two reports for next week, he stated.
“What I hear is that the EC chair says she is coming to lay the Constitutional Instrument (CI) and make the Ghana card the only document for registration. Mr. Speaker you can take a cue from what happened in Sierra Leone; because of electoral reforms and constitutional instruments all the chairs on the chamber were broken”.
In addition, the first deputy whip noted that what happened in a member state, Sierra Lone should not repeat itself in Ghana; they should be able to manage ourselves very well, that is why, his side is saying “let us engage, Ghana is the beacon of democracy in Africa”.
And if others are fighting over electoral reforms, it should not be the case with Ghana; they should engage and take cue from the report and give members the opportunity to be able to make their inputs, he affirmed.
The third issue is the petition against the Constitutional Instrument, “Mr. Speaker, I heard you saying you should be briefed before the laying of those Constitutional Instruments and I do not know if that briefing has taken place. I am part of the leadership and we should help you manage the House. So what we are requesting for, we need to do it and build consensus; when the Communication Minister said they will rely on only Ghana card for sim registration, a section of Ghanaians cannot use mobile phone because of that, this are critical issues that should be considered”.
He reminded the House that time is not on their side they have less than two weeks to adjourn. Other MPs who contributed to the issue also affirmed that their constituents are worried and calling but they are unable to help them.
Deputy Majority Leader in his response noted that the matter raised by his colleagues will be discussed at the Business Committee and its important for the EC to engage the House.
And further pointed out that he is not aware of any official communication to the effect that the EC will engage with the Speaker; he will check with the Speaker’s secretariat.
On same subject matter, the First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei Owusu recounted that the NIA has met with the Committee of the Whole which he chaired and signed their report over a month ago.
There is some information they requested, it was brought and he has given it to the table office to be duplicated and shared to members.