Politics Wed, 24 Dec 2014

Parliament okays 2015 District Assembly Elections

Parliament has unanimously approved the District Electoral Areas and Designation of Units Instrument, 2014 (C.I 85), thereby paving the way for the holding of next year's district assembly elections.

The C.I seeks to demarcate electoral boundaries for the elections in 2015. In all, 6,156 electoral areas have been created.

In all, 293 electoral areas have been created in both the Upper East and Upper West regions, 354 in the Greater Accra Region, 544 in the Western Region, 572 in the Central Region, 661 in the Volta Region, 705 in the Northern Region, 766 in Brong Ahafo, 850 in the Eastern Region, and 1,058 in Ashanti.

Members from both sides of the House approved the CI but also chided the Electoral Commission for delaying in presenting it to the House.

The Minority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, described the EC's delay as "unpardonable."

He agreed with the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation , which presented a report on the CI to the House, that the CI 85 would eliminate challenges and inconsistences associated with the electoral areas in LI 1993, but argued that Parliament had not had enough time to scrutinise it.

He said Parliament was even compelled to sit on Saturdays just to ensure that it met the constitutional requirement that a CI is laid before the House for 21 sitting days before it is approved.

"The E.C’s approach is lawless," he said.

"Mr Speaker, we must do the right thing, we must send a strong signal to the EC that they cannot operate in that lawless manner. We saw this as way back as September and asked the EC Chairman to come with a new CI, but as stiff as he is, he refused”, he said.

The EC, he said, must be made aware of the fact that their approach was wrong and should not be allowed to continue along that path.

The member for Wa West, Mr Joseph Yieleh Chereh, agreed largely with the Minority Leader, but said his use of the word "lawless" to describe the inaction or failure of the EC was unacceptable.

Instead of using the choicest obscenities to describe the EC and its leadership, he said, the House should rather ascertain why there was a delay in bringing the CI to the House.

The First Deputy Speaker, Mr Ebo Barton - Odro, who presided over proceedings at the time, was also of the view that the EC should have brought the CI to the House earlier.

"I agree that the EC must be cautioned to veer off that kind of culture, because even though we want the processes to go on, Parliament should not be stampeded”.

The CI 85 was laid before Parliament on Friday 21, 2014 in line with Article 11(7) of the 1992 Constitution.

Source: Graphic.com.gh