The Speaker of Parliament has urged the Electoral Commission (EC) to engage his Office, Parliament’s Leadership and Subsidiary Legislation Committee, as part of pre-laying formalities in its efforts to lay a new Constitutional Instrument (CI).
The EC is seeking to lay a new CI before Parliament, which would make the ECOWAS Card (Ghana Card) the only proof of nationality for the conduct of future voter registration.
Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, the Speaker of Parliament, said it was in the EC’s own interest to proceed to have the pre-laying meetings, not only with the Committee but with the Leadership of the House before anything could be submitted and be captured by the Order Paper of the House.
The Speaker gave the directive on the floor of the House in his response to an appeal by Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader, asking the House to invite the EC and the National Identification Authority (NIA) to brief members of the House on the Commission’s plan to use the Ghana Card as the proof of nationality in future voter’s registration exercises.
“I have also not seen anything from the EC. I have not been given any brief by the EC on any proposed instrument coming from them. And so, I raised this sometime ago, and I’m yet to receive them to be briefed on them,” Mr Bagbin stated.
“Until that is done, they should forget about laying such Instruments in the House. I think there’ve been a misinterpretation and misunderstanding of the concept of independence of various state institutions or arms of Government that are stated by the constitution to be independent.”
The Speaker said the independence was in the performance of their functions.
He said when the matter comes before Parliament, that was the performance of the House’s function, not their (independent institutions) function.
“And they cannot say they are not subject to the control of anybody including the institution of Parliament.”
He said when such instruments come before the House, at that time, that was the function Parliament was going to perform.
He reiterated that Parliament was not subject to the control of any arm of Government or institution of state.
“So, please the EC, the Bank of Ghana, including the Judiciary should take note that their independence doesn’t mean that independence has ousted Parliament from performing its function,” the Speaker said.
“So, if the CI is to come to the House, the proper thing must be done. Both procedural and substantive laws must be followed.
“And I will not allow any such instrument to be laid in this House until I am briefed, and I think that is the proper thing to do together with the House to make sure that the right thing is done in accordance with the provisions of the constitution,” Speaker Bagbin added.