RE: Voter Registration: NDC MPs were sleeping in Parliament during passage of CI 

Parliament of Ghana
Parliament of Ghana

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has issued a rejoinder on Sunday, 17th May, 2020 and signed by the Member of Parliament for South Dayi, Member of Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs of Parliament.

In the rejoinder, Hon. Rockson-Nelson EK. Dafeamekpor Esq. rubbished the statement made by the Honourable Member of Parliament for Efutu Constituency Hon. Afenyo Markin saying “the National Democratic Congress’ representatives in Parliament were sleeping at the time the new Constitutional Instrument (CI) was laid in Parliament by the Electoral Commission and passed.”

The NDC after disproving the statement made by New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament went ahead to provide instances where they disagreed with the passage of the CI in parliament. The Minority Members of Parliament are also calling on Hon. Afenyo Markin to render an apology to Ghanaians for his statement since he lied.

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Read below the full rejoinder issued by the Minority NDC Members of Parliament.

Press release
17/05/2020

RE: VOTER REGISTRATION: NDC MPs WERE SLEEPING IN PARLIAMENT DURING PASSAGE OF CI – Afenyo Markin

The Honourable Member of Parliament for Efutu, the Honourable Afenyo Markin is reported to have categorically stated that the National Democratic Congress’ representatives in Parliament were sleeping at the time the new Constitutional Instrument (CI) was laid in Parliament by the Electoral Commission and passed.

According to the news report, Hon. Markin, suggests that the CI was introduced and deliberated upon before passage. He sought to create the impression that the Minority and in this case the NDC MPs, did not raise any issues in Parliament challenging the amendments being sought, to wit, the use of only the Ghana Card and Passport for the purposes of identifying a person to be registered as a voter.

It is unfortunate to have the Hon. Member of Parliament for Effutu embark on these blatant untruths.

The truth of the matter admits of no controversy as the position of the Minority on this matter is public knowledge. Right from the introduction of the first abortive Instrument, it was the Minority Members, including yours truly, who raised very thorny technical concerns, and forcefully stated its viewpoints. There is a raft of evidence in this regard. The patently defective instrument including non-gazette notification, had to be withdrawn. The EC promised to go and put their house in order and to return.

When they returned for the second time after supposedly putting their house in order, the Minority yet again detected another error with the instrument they had gone to gazette and laid. What were these? These were that even though the EC gazetted the instrument, they failed to attach the Schedules to the laid Instrument and they could not produce any evidence that at the time of the Gazette Notification, the Schedules were attached. The second defect was that even though EC sought to amend Regulation 1 as contained in the body of CI 91, the same EC and their array of consultants were unable to indicate same in the Statutory Forms that were contained in the attached Schedule.

Such fundamental mistakes. These technical defects ipso facto, rendered the second time-laid Instrument incompetent and thus rejected.

So once more, Dr. Bossman Asare and his legion of lieutenants have had to withdraw the Constitutional Instrument for these corrections to be effected. It bears reminding that, the defects in the second Instrument were again exposed by us, the Minority and never by the Majority.

Sometime in or about the 29th day of March, 2020, the third Constitutional Instrument was surreptitiously brought by the EC and quietly laid.

The House got suspended on 4th April 2020 and got recalled for a few more sitting days and finally Adjourned properly on or about 3rd May 2020 to return on Tuesday, 19th May 2020. The Instrument has therefore gathered some days but certainly not the 21 statutory sittings days of Parliament. So contrary to his very clearly faulty submission, the 3rd Constitutional Instrument as laid has not matured and certainly has not been passed by Parliament yet. And the Hon Member for Effutu knows this very much.

As we speak, the Committee on Subsidiary Legislations is yet to convene a meeting so members can look at what has been brought by the EC for the 3rd time. I can assure him that, again the 3rd Instrument also contains even more grave defects and these will be made known to the EC when the committee meets before its maturity date.

It is therefore befuddling to read the views attributed to my learned classmate at the Bar but senior in the well of the House on no less a programme than Newsfile.

What is even unfortunate is the unsolicited attack and palpable denigration of our reputation and dignity as Members of Parliament on the ticket of the NDC as well as our Flagbearer, his Excellency, former President John Dramani Mahama.

Was the Majority not in a meeting in which the Electoral Commission, appearing before the House, promised they were never going to discard the existing voter ID cards and proceeded to outline the processes for one to migrate from the old platform onto a new one? When the EC thereafter submitted the amendment to exclude the use of the existing voters ID cards, did the Majority of which the Hon. Afenyo Markin is a member, require the Minority to wake them up to the missing information so provided earlier by the EC?

By all means let us do politics but let us be careful how we run our comments on matters in Parliament lest they constitute a denigration of the dignity and the sanctity of the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana.

The Honourable Member for Effutu may do well to provide a justification from their side on why they think holders of existing voters ID cards should be denied the opportunity to enrol easily onto a new register but have to go through other means to prove their inclusion, rather than finding solace in attacking the Minority.

We shall continue to serve the interest of the people of Ghana. We of the Minority have no desire to make the processes for the acquisition of a voter card cumbersome and we reject every attempt to exclude people who otherwise have the legitimacy and right to vote, from voting.

To my learned colleague, let us be mindful of our duties to ensure a thriving democracy based on truth and honesty.

May I remind my brother that, “Parliamentary democracy is, in truth, little more than a means of securing a periodical change in the management team, which is then allowed to preside over a system that remains in essence, intact”. So let’s learn to play it fairly.

So I will urge my colleague to withdraw his said unpalatable comments and apologise accordingly.

Veritas Nobis Lumen.

Signed:
Rockson-Nelson EK. Dafeamekpor Esq.
MP, South Dayi
Member, Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs of Parliament

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