Speaker cautions EC, state institutions over procedure
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has cautioned the Electoral Commission (EC) and other state institutions that he would not allow any instrument to be laid before the House without pre-laying meeting for him to be properly briefed.
Particularly with the EC, the speaker said he had not been given any brief with regard to any proposed instrument coming from the institution.
Mr Bagbin said if any Constitutional Instrument (CI) was to come to the House, then the proper thing must be done procedurally and the substantive law must be followed.
"And I will not allow any such instrument to be laid in this House until I'm briefed.
He said the pre-laying meeting must go beyond the committee level to involve leadership of the House before any CI was laid.
The Speaker said this during the presentation of the Business Statement for this week by the Majority Chief Whip, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, last Friday on the floor of the House.
The Speaker’s comments were in response to a concern raised by the Deputy Minority Whip, Ibrahim Ahmed, about the failure of the Business Committee to programme the EC and the National Identification Authority (NIA) reports for presentation during this week's sitting as agreed on earlier.
Mr Ahmed, who is the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Banda in the Bono Region, said the reports should have been programmed and debated so that Parliament could invite the EC and the NIA to brief the House.
The Deputy Minority Chief Whip indicated that the Special Budget Committee, which was proposed to meet the EC and the NIA, had done their duty and must present their reports to enable the House to invite the two institutions to deliberate on matters of concern.
The Majority Chief Whip, Mr Annoh-Dompreh, who is also the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Nsawam-Adoagyiri in the Eastern Region, who presented the Business Statement, said the omission was an oversight and assured that the Business Committee would schedule the reports to be presented to the House.
Commenting on the matter, however, Mr Bagbin said Parliament was not subject to the control of any arm of government or institution of the state in the performance of its duties.
"I think there is a misinterpretation and misunderstanding of the concept of independence of the various state institutions or arms of government that are stated by the Constitution to be independent," the Speaker said.
Mr Bagbin said the independence was in the performance of their functions.
He indicated that when the matter is brought before Parliament, it is then that the performance of Parliament kicks in.
"They cannot say they are not subject to the control of any body including the institution of Parliament.
"We are not subject to the control of any arm of government or institution of state. So please the EC, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and the Judiciary should take note that their independence does not mean they can stop Parliament from performing it's functions," he warned.
Subsequently, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, has proposed that the EC and the NIA should be hauled before the House to answer critical questions in relation to the bio-data of Ghanaians and the compilation of a credible voter register.
The EC is expected to place before Parliament a new C.I titled: Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2021, which is expected to regulate continuous voter registration.
Per the new C.I, which would become law after 21 sitting days of Parliament, the EC is seeking to make the Ghana Card the sole form of identification for eligible voters who want to get unto the electoral roll.