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EC to update Parliament on final preps for 2020 polls on Saturday

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong
Mrs Jean Mensa - Chairperson of EC
Mrs Jean Mensa - Chairperson of EC

The Electoral Commission (EC) is to brief Parliament on Saturday, November 7, 2020 on final measures it was taking to conduct the 2020 general elections, the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has said.

According to Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu he has engaged members of the commission and they are now ready to come to Parliament to update legislators on preparations towards the elections on Saturday.

He explained the EC management could not appear in Parliament on Thursday as earlier planned because the invitation got to them late.

"Admittedly we were expecting her [EC Chairperson], but unfortunately the communication got to them very late.

Apparently, the letter inviting them to be here [Parliament] got to them, we were told after 5pm yesterday [Wednesday] and we were expecting them to come to brief us in a very structured way to relate to certain specifics, especially the procurement of the biometric verification equipment, the functionality of the equipment, we wanted them to relate to the integrity of the facilities.

Also the cost of procurement and colleagues... wanted certain particular responses, so when the letter was delivered, apparently the person in charge of procurement that they [EC] needed to have contacted was not available, the Chairperson herself was also not available herself in Accra and they had their own plans to meet certain people today [Thursday], so we have a response from them that they will be able to avail themselves next week, Wednesday or Thursday, that was the communication from them.

Unknown to them, Parliament will be adjoining sine dine on Saturday, [November 7] so when they requested to meet us, we had to tell them today around 10am that it was going to be difficult for us. The Members (MPs) had insisted they wanted the Chairperson to appear [today], [and] just as I said they [EC] themselves had their own plans to meet at 11am to about 1pm so it was going to be difficult for them to appear, however the good thing is that, the chairperson has arrived in Accra, and when we had some discussions with her, she said to us that she could come tomorrow [Friday] but tomorrow, unfortunately because of the Farmers' Day, many MPS are going to their various places so we have agreed that they come on Saturday. We want some assurances regarding the transparency, free and fairness in the conduct of the elections to ensure a peaceful election." 

Asked if the invitation to the EC for the briefing was constitutionally compulsory, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said, "there is nothing constitutional [about that], there is no statute compelling them to do that, except [that] we believe that being representatives of the people, in the fullness of time, if they come to give us these briefings, it tends to assure the populace that nothing untoward is going to happen during the elections and of course, if you leave it to the Electoral Commissioners alone, at least human as they are, they may want to do their best but perhaps we still want to point a few things to them," he said.

Read also: Minority Leader wants EC chair to be cited for contempt of Parliament

EC ready to meet with Parliament to present Election 2020 road map

Meanwhile the Electoral Commission has issued a statement explaining its readiness to meet with Parliament to present the Election 2020 road map.

"The attention of the Electoral Commission has been drawn to an article on social media to the effect that the Commission snubbed Parliament’s invitation to present its Road Map/Plan for the peaceful and successful conduct of Election 2020 to the August House.

"The Commission is greatly surprised by this turn of events as notice of the said meeting reached it late Wednesday, the 4th of November 2020, at a time when some Commission members were outside Accra," the statement said.

"This was communicated to the Leadership of Parliament."

"The Commission is fully prepared to present its comprehensive report to the Leadership and Honorable Members of the House.

In agreement with the Leadership of Parliament, the Commission will present its Roadmap to the Honorable Members on Saturday the 7th of November 2020," the statement added

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