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Minority Leader Opens Debate On EC Tenure   
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Minority Leader Osei Kyei –Mensah Bonsu has condemned what he describes as the open ended tenure of the Chairmanship of the Electoral Commission (EC), thus opening another debate on the tenure of the members.

He indicates that the evidence on the face of the pink sheet and Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan’s performance in the last general elections warrant an amendment by Parliament to the composition and appointment of the Commission.

Failure to do that, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu notes, will amount to a dereliction of duty insisting we do not need a rocket scientist to tell us that if the EC conducts their business in 2016 as they did in 2012, they can lead the country to cataclysm.

Delivering a paper on the theme: “The Deficit in Parliamentary Scrutiny in the Fight Against Corruption” at the 4th edition of the Liberty Lectures in Accra, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who is also the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Suame in the Ashanti Region, stated that the members of the Commission, important as they are, are appointed by the President as provided for by Article 43(2).

Explaining further, the Minority Leader averred that in view of the fact that the President is very widely consulted in this regard. It is crucial Parliament must ensure this to avoid the situation of the Chairman of the EC “cutting a poor image of himself” before the Supreme Court because, apparently, he was purposed to defend the indefensible – a corruption of the electoral process”.

According to Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the legitimacy of Parliament is measured by the roles that they perform and how effective they are, contending that “a strong Parliament is one that has fair and unbiased rules, a capacity to represent the will of the people and a reasonable and appropriate role in decision making”.

A Parliament, he continues “with no substantial role in the political process or in making binding decisions, is a toothless, rubber-stamp and inconsequential entity”.

Buttressing his point with Article 106 (1) which states that “the power of Parliament to make laws shall be exercised by bills passed by Parliament…” the Suame MP maintained that since the President was vested with executive authority in Article 58, which extended to the execution and maintenance of all laws made under the constitution which the President had sworn to uphold.

“This assent, according to a former Attorney-General of Ghana implies that the President, the head of Executive, shares the power of legislation equally with parliament. Parliament in 2010 almost capitulated to this obnoxious request in spite of the reasoned arguments submitted by the minority group on the floor of Parliament. The day was saved and Ghana was spared the agony of an overbearing executive to erode the powers of the legislature by the timeous intervention of a former majority leader”.

Touching on the conduct of Speakers of the House, he alleged that the Speakers have arrogated onto themselves powers contrary to the provisions of the standing orders.

“It is sad to relate that our Speakers have assumed powers that the Standing Orders or Rules of Procedure do not grant them. I have used this example not to attack the person of Rt. Hon. Doe Adjaho but because it is the most recent” Osei Kyei –Mensah Bonsu said adding that “Indeed, previous Speakers have indulged themselves in this very unworthy cause. The net effect of this really is to blunt Parliament. And that is deficit in parliamentary oversight”.

The Suame MP was sad because MP’s who should rather guard their powers of oversight rise to chorus “hear, hear” to such plain acts of misadventure from Speakers who themselves are not MP’s stressing that “they should know that they are stabbing the back of the institution of Parliament, the only lesgislative arm of government.
Source: Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson/D-Guide

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