Majority Leader justifies need for new voters’ register for 2020 polls

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The Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

The Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu, has justified the decision by the Electoral Commission to compile a new voters’ register for the 2020 polls.

His justification follows the approval of the Public Elections Amendment Regulations (C.I 126) by Parliament

“The Electoral Commission are the custodian of their own document and they are telling us that the Charlotte Osei-led Commission, who were charged with that responsibility, could not do that and they have inherited a more or less contaminated system,” he said on Citi FM’s Eyewitness News.

Mr Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu also attributed the seeming division in the House over new requirements for the compilation of a new voters’ register to partisanship.

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Parliament had to vote on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, to allow the Electoral Commission (EC) to use the Ghana Card and Passports as the only forms of identification for persons registering to vote.

The vote occurred after the Speaker, Professor Mike Oquaye, granted a request from the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, for a division.

The legislators voted in a 102 to 96 decision in favour of the amendment of the Constitutional Instrument.

Politicisation

The Majority Leader felt the House was unable to reach a consensus on the new requirements because some Members of Parliament had politicized issues surrounding the amendment of the Constitutional Instrument (C.I), which empowers the EC to organise elections in the country.

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“One expects that, especially at the level of committee business, there will be less partisanship. Unfortunately, in this particular matter that was referred to the Subsidiary Legislation Committee, partisan politics have already been taken. The Subsidiary Legislation Committee has been polarised and, indeed, there was a line drawn on party lines. We have had to contend with it and deal with the substance,” he said.

Amendment passed

The Subsidiary Legislation Committee, which considered the amendment, could not arrive at a consensus as to whether the exclusion of a driver’s licence and the existing voter ID from the amendment was constitutional.

But, according to its report, it recommended by majority decision the passing of the amendment.

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Per the Constitutional Instrument, “a person who applies for registration as a voter shall provide as evidence of identification one of the following: a passport, a national identification card, or one voter registration identification guarantee form as set out in Form one of the schedule that has been completed and signed by two registered voters.”

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