The Minority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu has justified a rejection of a Bill that sought to change Ghana’s election date from December 7 to November to 7 in election years, saying the move “was victory for common sense.”
On Thursday July 21, 125 Members of the Parliament voted for the November 7 date, while 95 voted against it, with 45 being absent from the House. The House needed about 184 votes which would have constituted the two-third majority needed to pass the Bill.
Speaking on Eyewitness News in response to criticisms of the minority’s rejection of the Bill, Mr. Bonsu said although the New Patriotic Party (NPP) initially championed calls for the election date to be shifted, it was necessary for due process to be followed to avoid any hitches during the polls.
“This clarion was led by the NPP and we still cling to that position except we believe that we should apply common sense…”
Asked whether the Minority was proud about the outcome of the voting, the Minority Leader retorted , “I think it was to fight for the rule of law and it was victory for common sense. When we even argued that a constitutional instrument was required, the Deputy Attorney General got up to say that was not a requirement whereas it was clear in Article 63 (2) D of the Constitution that a C.I is required. And the AG herself has conceded that a C.I is required. And this was clear confusion, so in order for us to avoid the confusion and know where we are as a nation, we all thought that it is important for the status quo to remain at least for the time being.”
NDC has been dishonest On Thursday, the Majority Chief Whip, Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak, accused the NPP of deliberately rejecting the Bill for political expediency, and thus called on the Minority to explain why it took such a decision.
Responding to these allegations, Mr. Mensah Bonsu said : “if anybody has been dishonest, it is rather the Majority and not the Minority.” “Those who are making that allegation should rather be pointing fingers on their own chest. If there is any key for dishonesty or fraud, those who voted to operationalize the Bill immediately, they should be blamed. If anybody is being dishonest, it is the Attorney General and the gang that followed her which is the majority.”
According to him, it was unjustifiable for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to accuse the NPP of being dishonest since they were the same people who advocated for the date to be changed to November since 2014.
“In principle, we in the NPP indeed started this advocacy way back in 2014. Indeed as I said on Thursday that, way back in August last year 2016, when we met the Electoral Commission at the special budget committee, I was the person who pushed that if they were minded to do it, they should do it so that by the close of the year last year, we would have resolved all matters relating to the gazetting and Parliament would have been done with it before the close of the year, so that into the election year, we will not have any albatross hanging on our neck,” he added.