NDC Laces Boots for Another Showdown
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has set in motion mechanisms to ensure it opposes, in full, the Electoral Commission’s (EC) new Constitutional Instrument (CI), waiting to be laid in Parliament.
The party says it has with immediate effect suspended campaign activities in all constituencies with sitting Members of Parliament (MPs) till the end of this month – March 31.
According to the party, the decision is in solidarity with the Minority Caucus to allow all its members to attend every parliamentary sitting in what it terms as “Operation Save Our Democracy.”
The NDC indicated that the decision was arrived at after a meeting by its Functional Executive Committee (FEC) on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.
A statement signed by party’s General Secretary, Fifi Fiavi Kwetey, said, “At its meeting held on Tuesday, March 7, 2023, the Functional Executive Committee of the National Democratic Congress in solidarity with the Minority Caucus’ fight against the obnoxious Constitutional Instrument the Electoral Commission is seeking to lay before Parliament, resolved that the period from the evening of 7th March, 2023 up to the 31st March, 2023 has been declared as ‘Operation Save Our Democracy.’ Accordingly, FEC issues the following directives.”
According to the NDC, the CI, if allowed in its current form, will mean that the Ghana Card will become the sole identification document for the compilation of a new voters’ register, which they are opposed to.
Recall that last month, the minority in Parliament led by its leader, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, on Friday, February 10, 2023, blocked the process towards the laying of the Instrument.
Earlier, the party in Parliament, led by the then Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, in a petition to Parliament in November 2022, said the Instrument should not be laid until the backlog of Ghana Cards yet to be issued to registrants has been cleared.
Should the CI be laid and allowed to mature in its current form, the NDC anticipates that “millions of citizens” who do not have the Ghana Card may be denied their constitutional right to register and vote in the 2024 general elections.
To this end, the petition, in the name of the party’s caucus, said other evidence of citizenship should be added to the Ghana Card for the registration exercise.
“Since the proposed Public Election Instrument as a subsidiary legislation cannot override the substantive provision in the Constitution on citizens’ right to register and to vote, and insistence on the Ghana Card as the only evidence of citizenship will deny millions of citizens the right to register and to vote, other forms of evidence of citizenship, such as Ghanaian passport and the guarantor system, must be added to the Ghana Card as evidence of citizenship in the proposed CI.
“Any further action on the proposed CI by or in Parliament should be frozen until consultations have been initiated and concluded with the major stakeholders, especially the political parties, including the NDC and civil society,” the petition stated.
The party’s new directive is therefore to ensure that the Minority focuses all its attention in Parliament to ensure that it remains opposed to the CI anytime it is presented with its almost equal numbers.
Per the directive:
1)) All campaign activities in all constituencies with sitting NDC MPs are hereby suspended.
2) All sitting NDC MPs, shall be required to attend all Parliamentary sittings.
3) No NDC MP shall undertake any travel that will affect his or her attendance in Parliament.
4) Any MP who has travelled is hereby recalled immediately.
5) All regional and constituency executives and aspirants are directed to ensure strict compliance with the directives herein.
6) All parliamentary aspirants, are hereby directed in their own interest, to strictly adhere to these directives as a breach of same shall attract severe sanctions.
The statement further noted that the dates for the filing of the nominations, vetting of parliamentary aspirants and parliamentary primaries shall remain unchanged.
Meanwhile, the Minority members have welcomed the directive and have vowed to ensure that the CI in its current form is not allowed to mature. Sam Nartey George, MP for NingoPrampram and Alhassan Bashir Alhassan Fuseini. MP for Sagnarigu, reacting to the directive said they welcome it and are committed to ensuring that they remain in the august House to monitor every step of the way.