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Politics Fri, 7 Sep 2012

NPP are only passengers; we'll drive them safely - Majority Leader

The Majority in parliament has stated that the plethora of calls on the Electoral Commission to call off the intended creation of 45 new constituencies is much ado about nothing.

Majority Leader Cletus Avoka says the EC has a mandate imposed on it by the constitution to create new the constituencies and parliament will help the EC achieve this goal.

The minority in parliament, last Wednesday, accused the EC of being in bed with the government on the creation of the constituencies. Minority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu said the EC’s stubborn position could only be a recipe for disaster ahead of the December polls.

But addressing journalists at the foyer of parliament on the controversy that has engulfed the Constitutional Instrument being passed to create the constituencies, Hon. Avoka said the initiative “is not the baby of the majority; it is not the baby of the NDC government. It is the baby of the Electoral Commission.”

He said the Minority is making “a mountain out of an anthill” over the mistakes in the naming of the CI73, which was changed to CI78 on September 4.

According to Hon. Avoka, “the Electoral Commission is merely exercising its constitutional obligation” adding “there is no iota of truth or shred of evidence that the government or the majority is coercing or manipulating the EC to create the new constituencies.”

Hon. Avoka accused the minority of behaving as though they are the only group that has the capacity to govern the nation, admonishing that the appropriate bodies involved in the matter should be allowed to do their work

“Let it not be inferred that there are some people who think that they are the only people ordained to lead the country. They are only passengers and we assure them that we will drive them home safely,” he said.

The Majority Leader accused the minority of double standards by going ahead to pass the Representation of the People’s Amendment Bill (ROPAL) even though the EC said it did not have the capacity to implement the law in the 2008 elections.

He further stated that it is not the first time that the house has had to withdraw a bill to be corrected, stating that in 2001, the then government tabled the CI33 - Civil Procedure High Court Rules bill which was withdrawn on two occasions due to errors identified in it.

He said the argument that the timing is short is moot because the EC has the benefit of technological advancements to complete as early as possible.

Speaking about the benefits of the creation of the new constituencies, Hon Avoka said it will enhance “participatory democracy and good governance in the country and it will reduce the number of constituents an MP interacts with.”

He added that it will also provide a balanced development in the country. He therefore gave the assurance that the majority caucus will do everything possible to build consensus with the minority on the matter.

“We should not unnecessary beat war drums when there is no reason to do so,” he said calling on all Ghanaians to support the EC to carry out its mandate.

Hon. Avoka described the death threats on the EC Chairman, Dr. Afari-Gyan, as very unfortunate and urged all and sundry to exercise restraint on the matter.

He said the EC has consistently talked about its capacity to successfully see to it that the new constituencies are created and therefore called on the minority to cooperate with the EC to make the elections an incident free one.

“It is not enough for people to sit in their offices that the EC cannot do its work… that will amount to interference.”

He is however of the view that going forward, all stakeholders must agree on whether to put a cap on the creation of new districts and constituencies so as to forestall such acrimony.

Source: XYZ