The proposed November 7 date for the conduct of the 2016 general election risks being rejected due to cracks inside Ghana’s legislature, Joynews has gathered.
While some Members of Parliament (MPs) want the Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2016 that contains the proposed date to be thrown out due to what they describe as the “unpreparedness” of the Electoral Commission (EC), others hold the contrary view.
Deputy ranking member on the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament, Ben Abdallah, was emphatic the EC cannot hold the election in November.
He believes the EC’s claim that it is ready to hold the general elections in November is buoyed by blind optimism.
“I have a lot of doubt about the capability of the EC to be able to organise this election in November,” he said.
According to him, there are outstanding things the EC has to do before it can be said to be ready for the polls in November.
“When we are done with this Constitutional Amendment bill, the EC will still have to come with another Constitutional Instrument (C.I) mandating the EC to fix a date for the presidential election coinciding with the date of the parliamentary election,” he said.
He has called on the House to consider the EC’s preparation before okaying the bill since the Commission has not been “forthright, honest and candid” with Ghanaians about its readiness to hold the 2016 election.
Even though Vice Chairman of the Committee, George Loh, admits a lot needs to be done, he believes the EC will be able to hold the election.
He explained the Committee will recommend to the House for the new date to be adopted, but added the onus now lies on the MPs.
“Like I keep saying as to whether the amendment will pass is a different matter. We need 2/3 majority of Members of Parliament,” he said.
Mr Loh said getting the two-third majority of MPs to accept the new date “is the greatest challenge and a hurdle to jump.”
Per the current standing of Ghana’s legislature, it will be difficult to determine if any of the two dominating parties, the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) will be able to garner the two-third vote to either accept or reject the date.
The NPP has 122 MPs while the NDC has 153 MPs.
This clearly presents a dire situation for the general election.