Hon Members, Correctionof Votes and Proceedings. [No correction was made to the Votesand Proceedings of Wednesday, 20th July,2016]
Mr Speaker,I am sorry to take you back. Page 3 --
Hon Member, I havepronounced --Yes, let me hear you.
Mr Speaker, I am markedabsent, but I was here yesterday.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Members, we havetwo Official Reports for correction. [No correction was made to theOfficial Report of Friday, 8th July, 2016.]
Hon Members, I haveadmitted one Statement today in the formof a tribute to our former Hon Colleague,the former Hon Member for Abetifi. Hon Minority Leader, you have floor.
Mr Speaker, I rise topay this tribute in memory of a former HonColleague of ours, the late Hon Peter WiafePepera. Tribute in memory of the late Hon PeterWiafe Pepera by Parliament of Ghana Now praise we great and famous menThe fathers named in story.And praise the Lord who now as thenReveals in man his glory -- CharlesWesley The Parliament of Ghana received thenews of the demise of Hon Peter WiafePepera with great shock and disbelief ashe had attended the previous day's Sittingof the House, shared pleasantries andconversed heartily with Colleagues andstaff in his usual cheerful manner. Littledid anyone; family, Members ofParliament, constituents expect that hewould be no more by the next day. It istherefore, with a deep sense of loss thatwe pay this tribute to our departedColleague. Hon Pepera became a Member of theaugust House on January 7, 2009, havingbeen elected to represent the people ofAbetifi in the Eastern Region on the ticketof the New Patriotic Party (NPP). He wasre-elected for a second term in 2012. During his tenure spanning a periodon almost eight (8) years, Hon Peperaserved on various Committees and madeinsightful and brilliant contributions to thework of Parliament. He served on the Committee on Trade,Industry and Tourism; the Committee ofPrivileges and the House Committee. Heavailed Parliament of his rich experienceand expertise as an academic, industrialistand a businessman. His participation inthe work of the House, and, especially atthe Committee on Trade, Industry andTourism where he was naturally inclinedto, was thorough. Contributing to a debate at theConsideration Stage of a Bill, a businessnot too many Hon Members demonstratedinterest in at plenary, he stated: “Rt Hon Speaker ... the enhance-ment for this Export Developmentand Investment Fund Bill is not onlyfor agriculture and it is not only forexport, but it is also for what we call“import substitution”, especiallywhere we have Ghana at acomparative advantage. We aretalking, for instance, of tomatoprocessing where if we areprocessing our own tomatoes, ... oneof the reasons of expanding non- traditional export base is for ourbalance of payments. But anotherway to improve your balance ofpayments is to process your owngoods, ... to import less andtherefore, your economy is healthier.Apart from that, it providesemployment.” Hon Pepera was very forthright in hissubmissions on the floor and alwaysheld on to his conviction that, in legislating,State interest and national developmentmust be the overriding consideration.Accordingly, still on this Bill, he furthernoted: “So, I urge all my Colleagues tosupport this Bill, because, it willreally give a big boost, not only tothe agro-processing sector, andexports, but imports substitution. Ifeel that everybody would supportthis Bill because when you look atthe programmes and manifestoes ofall the political parties, you wouldrealise that they are all committed toincreasing non- traditional exports.” While holding on to the principle ofeffective oversight as a key ingredient ofaccountable governance, the late HonPepera believed that State institutionsmust be adequately resourced for effectivedelivery on their mandate. In hiscontribution to the debate on a Motionfor the approval of the Annual Estimatesof the Ministry of Trade and Industry, heobserved: Mr Speaker, once again, we findourselves before this august House,not to scrutinise, prune down,examine or limit the budget of theMinistry over which we haveoversight responsibility, but ratherto call for, and plead for increases. “I believe the importance of theMinistry of Trade and Industry asmentioned by my Hon Colleague
I will call the newly-elected Hon Member for Abetifi; is hehere?
Yes. Hon Members, we would not take manycomments on this tribute. That was whatI agreed in principle with the Leadershipof the House. So, Hon Majority Leader?
Thank you very much, MrSpeaker. I stand to add a few words to theeloquent tribute paid by the Hon MinorityLeader in memory of our Hon Colleague,
Hon Members, thatbrings us to the end of the tribute. May we observe a minute's silence inhonour of our departed Hon Colleague? [A minute's silence was observed]
May his soul rest inperfect peace. Amen.
At the Commencementof Public Business -- May I now call theHon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, we could moveto the Presentation of Papers, which isitem 4. We have Papers to be laid by theHon Minister for Power. The Minister forFinance is overseeing the Ministry ofPower, but he just stepped out. So, with your kind permission, you would allow theHon Minister for Petroleum to do so forand on behalf of the Minister of Financewho is overseeing the Ministry of Power.
Mr Speaker,I believe there should not be anydifficulty.
Hon Members, presentationof Papers, item numbered 4 on the OrderPaper, 4(a)(i), by the Minister for Power.
Mr Speaker, item 4(b) onthe Order Paper is not ready. So, if wecould now look at item 5, which is theMotion.
Very well. Hon Members, item numbered 5 onthe Order Paper. Hon Attorney-Generaland Minister for Justice, you may movethe Motion.
BILLS -- SECOND READING
Hon Members, theMotion has been moved. I would call onthe Chairman of the Committee onConstitutional, Legal and ParliamentaryAffairs to present the Committee's Report.
Thank you, MrSpeaker, for the opportunity to presentthe Committee's Report. Introduction The Constitution (Amendment) Bill,2016 was presented to Parliament and readthe First time on Tuesday, 28th June, 2016. Following the presentation, MrSpeaker referred the Bill to the Council ofState for consideration and advice inaccordance with article 291 of theConstitution. On Monday, 4th July, 2016,Mr Speaker informed the House that hehad received the Advice on the Bill fromthe Council of State. He accordingly referred the Billtogether with the Advice from the Councilof State to the Committee on Consti-tutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairsfor consideration and report in accordancewith Article 106 of the Constitution andOrder 179 of the Standing Orders of theHouse. Reference The Committee referred to thefollowing documents during its delibe-rations. i. 1992 Constitution of the Republicof Ghana ii. Standing Orders of Parliament iii. Public Elections Regulations,2012 (C.I. 75) iv. ECOWAS Protocol on Democracyand Good Governance (A/SP1/12/01) Background Article 112 (4) of the 1992 Constitutionprovides for the period within whichelection of Members of Parliament couldbe held. The provision states: “Subject to clause (2) of Article 113of this Constitution, a generalelection of Members of Parliamentshall be held within thirty days before the expiration of the periodspecified in clause (1) of thatArticle; and a session of Parliamentshall be appointed to commencewithin fourteen days after theexpiration of that period”. On the strength of the afore-statedprovision (Article 112 (4)), the ElectoralCommission fixed the 7th day of Decemberas the date for the conduct ofParliamentary Elections in the countrysince 1996. The 7th of December, which iscurrently the date for the conduct ofgeneral elections in the country, leaves atransitional period of only one month, forthe swearing-in of the President-elect on7th January in the ensuing year. The one month transition period withinwhich one government hands over toanother, has over the years, provedinsufficient for a smooth transition,particularly, in instances of run-offelections, as were the cases in 2000 and2008. The challenges associated withPresidential transition were of concern,hence the need to take a critical look at theissue. The Constitutional Review Commission,after its nationwide consultations in theCountry, recommended that the date for boththe Presidential and Parliamentary Electionsbe held in November to allow for enoughtime for smooth Presidential transition. Following the work of the ConstitutionalReview Commission, the ElectoralCommission also set up the ElectoralReform Committee (ERC) in January 2015to consider various electoral reformsneeded to be made before the 2016elections. The date for both the Presidentialand Parliamentary Elections was one ofthe issues considered by the Committee. The Electoral Reform Committee wasof the opinion that holding the Presidentialand Parliamentary Elections earlier thanthe 7th December, would allow for sufficient time between elections and thehanding over of government to anincoming administration. This accordingto the ERC, will ensure a smooth transitionand reduce acrimony, as well as preventthe near chaotic situation experienced bythe country previously. The ERC therefore recommended that,the 7th of December for the conduct ofour general elections should be changedto the First Monday of November in anyelection year. Consequent upon that, theConstitution (Amendment) Bill, 2016 wasintroduced in Parliament to effect thechange in the date. It must be mentioned that, the Bill onlyspecifies the day on which ParliamentaryElections could be held. It is also worth-mentioning that, unlike the ParliamentaryElections, the provision in the Constitution(article 63(2)) which stipulates the periodwithin which Presidential Elections couldbe held, will not require an amendment buta Constitutional Instrument, if it has to befixed in November. Article 63(2) of theConstitution states: “The election of the President shallbe on the terms of universal adultsuffrage and shall, subject to theprovisions of this Constitution, beconducted in accordance with suchregulations as may be prescribed byconstitutional instrument by theElectoral Commission and shall beheld so as to begin - (a) where a President is in office, notearlier than four months nor laterthan one month before his termof office expires; and (b) in any other case, within threemonths after the office ofPresident becomes vacant; and shall be held at such placeand shall begin on such date asthe Electoral Commission shall,by Constitutional Instrument,specify.” The Bill seeks to amend article 112 (4)of the 1992 Constitution to provide forParliamentary Elections to be held on thefirst Monday of November in everyelection year, to ensure effective andsmooth transition. Consideration of the Bill by theCommittee. The Committee in considering theReferral, was conscious of the importanceof the Bill to the whole country. Ittherefore deemed it prudent to involve thepolitical parties, civil society organisationsand the general public. Cognisance of this,the Committee held a Public Forum onMonday, 11th July, 2016 to solicit theviews of the public on the Bill. Thefollowing organisations and institutionswere invited to participate in the Forum: i. National Democratic Congress(NDC) ii. New Patriotic Party (NPP) iii. Convention People's Party(CPP) iv. Progressive People's Party(PPP) v. National Democratic Party(NDP) vi. Democratic People's Party (DPP) vii.New Vision Party (NVP) viii. National Commission for CivicEducation (NCCE)ix. The Ghana Bar Association x. Ghana Journalist Association(GJA) xi. Ghana National Association ofTeachers (GNAT) xii. Christian Council of Ghana xiii.Office of the National Chief Iman xiv.Centre for Democratic Development(CDD)-Ghana xv. Institute for Democratic Governance(IDEG)xvi. Coalition of Domestic ElectionObservers (CODEC) xvii. Civic Forum Initiative xviii. National Union of GhanaStudents (NUGS) xix. The General Public In attendance was the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice (MrsMarietta Brew Appiah-Opong and officialsfrom her Ministry. All the participants at the Public Forumunanimously agreed with the change inthe date for the conduct of generalelections from 7th December to the firstMonday of November in an election yearand were therefore in support of thepassage of the Bill. Some however raisedconcerns which borders on the readinessof the Electoral Commission to hold theup-coming general elections in November,should the Billbe passed. It is worth-mentioning that, for this Year, the firstMonday in November proposed in the Bill,falls on the 7th of November. One of the concerns was that, theElectoral Commission was already behindschedule in respect of its Calendarreleased to the political parties. SomeRepresentatives of the political partiesindicated that, copies of the ProvisionalVoters' Register, which they ought to havereceived at the time, had not been releasedto them, though exhibition of the Registerwas scheduled for the 18th of July, 2016. As a result of this, they were in doubtas to whether after the exhibition, therewould be ample time to adequately dealwith issues relating to errors, change ofnames, objections, claims, among others,to enable the Electoral Commissionprovide political parties with certifiedcopies of the Voters' Register at the timestipulated by the Public ElectionsRegulations, 2016 (C.I. 94) upon itsmaturity. They were also in doubt as to whetherissues relating to transfers, registrationof proxy voters and special voting, couldbe concluded before the 7th of November,when the elections are expected to takeplace. Some participants were also concernedwith whether the Electoral Commissionhad the necessary financial and logisticalsupport to run the election in November,2016. They inquired whether Governmentwas ready to release adequate funds forthe Commission to meet its financial needsto enable it conduct the general electionscome November, 7. The Attorney-General and the Ministerfor Employment and Labour Relations (MrHaruna Iddrisu) allayed the fears of theparticipants by indicating that, Govern-ment was prepared to resource theElectoral Commission to conduct theElections in November this year.
The Ranking Member ofthe Constitutional, Legal and ParliamentaryAffairs Select Committee? Ranking Member of the Committee(Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu): Mr Speaker, Irise to support the Motion on theadoption of the Report of the Committee. Mr Speaker, in supporting the Motion,I wish to make some observations whichhave come out of the public hearing andthe meeting with the Electoral Commission(EC), some of which have beenenumerated by the Chairman of theCommittee. Mr Speaker, it is instructive to note thatpractically everybody who appearedbefore the Committee agreed in principle Mr Speaker, in addition to that, therewas no assurance that the budgetoverrun, amount of money required by theEC to conduct the election effectively andthe amount of money approved for theEC, there is about GH¢400 milliondifference between the two. The shortfall; it is not clear when andhow that is going to come since there isno budgetary allocation for it and no suchprocess has been brought before thisHouse yet to show how that shortfallwould be funded. Mr Speaker, by and large, I think thatHon Members of this House, in decidinghow to vote, should only take intoconsideration, some of these matters andcarry or decide how it would help theHouse or the country in the election. Mr Speaker, these are the onlyobservations I wish to make. I support theMotion. Thank you.
Hon Ranking Member, Itake your comments on this floor seriouslyin matters relating to your Committee. Soare you endorsing the Committee'srecommendation? I want to have an idea.This is because you talked about “inprinciple” but I want to get the sense fromyou. You speak for the Minority on thatCommittee.
Mr Speaker, I said Isupport the Motion, except that, thoseobservations which are contained in theReport, I bring them to the fore for theattention of the House. [Hear! Hear!]
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for theopportunity to support the Motion for theadoption of the Report on the SecondReading of the Constitution (Amendment)Bill, 2016.
that, the amendment was right andlegitimate and ordinarily desirable.However, nine out of ten of these samepersons raised concerns regarding thereadiness of the Electoral Commission toconduct the elections should the date bechanged now and the election be held on7th November, as the amendment wouldbring into the fore. Mr Speaker, some of the issues havebeen adequately answered by theCommission and ordinarily, they shouldput our fears to rest. Mr Speaker, I wish to note however thatthe issues relating to the calendarsuggests that, it is so watertight andindeed in some cases, overlapped. Forexample, from the calendar, counting from7th November, we would have a situationwhere at the time the Electoral Commissionwould open nomination for Presidentialand Parliamentary Elections, the politicalparties would not be able to claimlegitimately, copies of the certified register. This is because by the ConstitutionalInstrument (C.I.) regulating that procedure,counting from the time the register wouldbe ready and the time nominations wouldopen, the deadline by which the ElectoralCommission should give the copies to theparties would not have elapsed. These arematters of concern, which I wish to drawthe House's attention to. Mr Speaker, it is instructive to note thatthe Electoral Commission assured that theHon Minister for Finance has released andthe term is “released” money. However,they were also quick to point out that, arelease is a release and disbursement isnot the same as release. Indeed, whereasonpaper, it has been released, only afraction of the amount released hasreached them.
Yes, Hon Member forNew Juaben South?
Mr Speaker, theHon Member is misleading the House. He said that in the event of a run-off,the Electoral Commission would have toconduct elections within two weeks.
Hon Member, did yousay two weeks or three weeks? This isbecause it is a matter of law. It is 21 days. What did you say?
Mr Speaker, I said 21days -- three weeks, within which toconduct the run-off election. The Transitional Committee would beleft with a limited period, within which todo the transition. As a result of this time
Hon Members, this is aone clause Bill. The Report of theCommittee is quite detailed. They haveraised all the issues and concerns, andhave made recommendations. So, Hon Members, you should gostraight to the point in your submission. I would call on the Hon Member forAkuapim South.
Mr Speaker, I rise tocontribute to the Motion on theConstitution (Amendment) Bill, 2016, nowbeing read a Second time. Mr Speaker, in doing so, I would wantto refer to the memorandum from the HonAttorney-General and Minister forJustice. “According to the Committee,holding the Presidential andParliamentary elections in Novemberwould allow for sufficient timebetween elections and the handingover of power to an incominggovernment. This would alsoensure a smooth transition andreduce acrimony as well as preventthe chaotic situation wherebyformer Ministers of State arerecalled to provide information tothe in-coming Government onmatters of the State.” Mr Speaker, with all due respect, if wewere to only look at the dates, withoutlooking at the legal framework, whichwould ensure a smooth transition, then thedates alone cannot ensure a smoothtransition, as has been espoused by theConstitutional Review Commission. So, the Attorney-General and Ministerfor Justice's explanation here, that theonly reason we can have a smoothtransition, is for us to shift the date, withall due respect, cannot be the only reasonwe can have a smooth transition. I believe that, if indeed, we wouldwant to have a smooth transition, thenwe should also look at the major issue ofhaving a legal framework, that wouldensure a smooth transition, and not onlyto change dates. That was why this House passed aPresidential Transition Act. That Act hasnot been implemented because there arechallenges, and there is an amendment tosuch an Act, which this Parliament hasnot passed, and I believe that until wehave agreed to change this, we shouldrather have that Presidential TransitionAct passed, so that we would have thebases, and the legal framework, for asmooth transition, and not just thechanging of date. Mr Speaker, as I went through thememorandum, I was a bit surprised thatindeed, the Attorney-General and Ministerfor Justice did not refer to the Report ofthe Constitution Review Commission,which did extensive work on, whether thedate for presidential and parliamentaryelections, should be maintained orchanged. The memorandum only referredto the Electoral Reform Committee,established in 2015 proposed reforms. I believe that the work of theConstitutional Review Commission is veryextensive, and would indeed, assist us indeciding whether we should vote to havethe date changed from December to thefirst Monday in November. Mr Speaker, various reasons have beenassigned in the Constitutional ReviewCommission's Report, and if I may bepermitted, I would quote paragraph 259,page 394 of the Commission Report. It is very instructive, and it reads: “The final category of submissionsproposed the establishment of aneffective mechanism for managingthe transition between twosuccessive governments. Therewere those who called for theestablishment of an independentbody, bi- partisan in nature, to deal withtransitional matters and to: hold theout-going Government accountable;ensure a comprehensive transition;and reduce the tensions associatedwith transition. It was also proposedthat an Act of Parliament should bepassed to deal with transitionalmatters as this would ensure anorganised transition process.” In the Hon Attorney-General andMinister for Justice's memorandum, inparagraph 5 of the first page, it reads, andI quote:
Hon Member, what isyour conclusion?
Mr Speaker, what Ihave said speaks for itself.
Hon Members, theconclusions that I hear would determinehow many people I would call. That is whyas you spoke, I listened to you carefully.
Mr Speaker, giventhe circumstances, and what I havenarrated, the EC is not ready for electionson 7th November, 2016.
Mr Speaker,I rise on a point of order. If oneunderstands the import of the Bill, it doesnot ask that elections be held on 7 thNovember. The Bill says the first Mondayof November. It just happens that for thisyear, it will fall on the 7th, so, let us makea distinction between the two.
MrSpeaker, thank you very much for theopportunity to associate myself with theMotion ably moved by the Attorney-
Please, can you give usthe other signatories or only two peoplesigned?
Mr Speaker,there are several signatories -- MrsGeorgina Opoku Amankwaa; MrsRebecca Kabukie Adjalo; Mr JamesKwabena Bonfeh Jnr of the ConventionPeople's Party (CPP); Mr Anin-Kofi Addo of the YES People's Party (YPP); DrRansford Gyampoh, Institute of EconomicAffairs (IEA); Mr Kwesi Jonah, Instituteof Democratic Governance (IDEG) and DrFranklin Oduro. This was signed andsubmitted as a report. Mr Speaker, I will tender this asevidence if that is the requirement.
“Hold presidential and parliamentaryelections on 7th November. Thisaffects article 112 of the 1992Constitution which is non-entrenched.” Mr Speaker, this is very significant. Iquote again. “Background Where an opposition candidateswins the presidential election I thought that they were veryhopeful of an opposition partywinning an election] the conduct ofthe election on December 7and thehanding over on power on January7 leaves insufficient time for thewinner to organise himself and takeover the reins of Government. Where elections go into a secondor third round, then the period iseven tighter. The experience in 2001and 2009 shows that transition fromone Executive Government toanother under those circumstancescan be challenging and adverselyimpact on governance anddemocratic consolidation.”
“The date for presidential andparliamentary elections should bechanged to 7 th November in an
Hon Members, I metLeadership this morning, and the essenceof the pre-Sitting is to guide the Chair toconduct the business of the House,devoid of any challenges or difficultiesas possible. And as the Hon MinorityLeader rightly pointed out, normally, I amguided even by a list. This is a very important debate dealingwith the amendment of the Constitutionallaw of this country. No list has been givento me by the Leaders, neither have theygiven me any indication. I got here and Isaw signs but the signs, were not too clearto me today. When you sit here, youhear and see things. I heard a strong agitation on genderbalance, and I believe that -- so, HonMembers, it is on that basis that I calledthe Hon Member for Dome-Kwabenya. -- [Hear! Hear!!] election year from 7th December anda request should be made toParliament to amend article 112 (4)of the Constitution.” Mr Speaker, let it be said that, yourCommittee's recommendation that thedrivers of this amendment are the majorpolitical actors, and the major politicalparties of the country including the NPP.Therefore, what we should ask is whetherthe spirit or the preamble of theConstitution is being compromised bythis amendment. Mr Speaker, this amendment isimportant to the extent that it providesthe Ghanaian public certainty of anelection. Our Constitution contemplatesthat every other four years, we shouldconduct regular elections. Therefore,regular elections would become an integralpart of our electoral landscape. What is wrong, if we want the Ghanaianpopulace to know that every first Mondayin November, general elections in thiscountry would be conducted forpresidential and parliamentary elections?That is the import of the amendment. Our Hon Colleagues need to know that,it does have the support not only ofpolitical parties, but of civil society in thecountry, because they would want us tospeak with certainty. Mr Speaker, I will further tender inevidence minutes of the Inter-PartyAdvisory Committee (IPAC) meeting heldon 22nd December, 2015, venue, IPACroom, Electoral Commission where manyof these issues --
Hon Member, if youquote that document, you would make acopy available to the House. would know that, he would exercise aright. The sovereign will of the people inthe preamble of the Constitution residesin the people. Mr Speaker, with these few words, Ibeg to urge Hon Members to support theMotion. Thank you.
Hon Members, I will takeone more, after that, I will move to the twoLeaders. Yes, Hon Member for Dome-Kwabenya? -- [Interruptions]
Order! Order!! Hon Members, under our rules, wewould have to take into account all shadesof opinion in debate. It is true that, so far,among the Members of Parliament, I havenot heard any female voice and that is whyI am calling the Hon Member for Dome-Kwabenya.
Mr Speaker,when it comes to the conduct of businessin the Chamber, I think it has always beenthe case that, Leadership has assistedyou. Mr Speaker, sometimes, we submit listsof people who would like to engage inthe debate to you. Occasionally, weindicate to you by sign language, whoshould be called. I do know that, MrSpeaker may sometimes want to have allmanner of representations, includingwomen, even religious balance. When theElectoral Reform Committee was puttogether, they engaged even the religiousfaiths. I am not too sure that, this is thepath that we want to tread here. Hon Members, I call a number of peopleon the floor of the House at times, to heartheir views, even when they are sitting.More often than not, I call on the Leaderswhen they are even sitting. The strictrule is that, you have to be on your feet tocatch my eyes, but when I need -- I havetapped into the experiences of a numberof people on both sides of the House,especially, the Hon Member for Sekondi,who is a former Leader of the House. At times, when I want his inputs into adebate, I call him when he is even sitting.I do same for the two Leaders. I call theFinance Minister and his Deputies evenwhen they are sitting down. Hon Members, if the Minority feelsstrongly that they have made their ownarrangements and that, the Hon Memberfor Manhyia South is the one who shouldspeak for them, let him speak. I will bendthe rules and let him speak if that wouldbring peace. [Laughter] Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker,since you have said to us that it wasdifficult for you to understand the signalthat I gave you, may I state for theavoidance of doubt, that, the indicationI was giving to you was to allow the HonMember for Manhyia South to speak,thereafter, we have the Hon Member forWenchi.
Is that your guide to theChair?
Mr Speaker,that is my guide.
And it is only a guide.
Mr Speaker,who am I to compel the Chair? When weadvice, it is only advice, we cannotcompel you.
Hon Member forManhyia South, you have the floor.
Thank you, MrSpeaker. On reflection, one of the mostsolemn duties we are being called uponto do is to amend our fundamental law ofthe land, which you have so said. Wemust treat it with all the seriousness itdeserves, so that, our Constitution, whichis the basic law of the land, is not alwayschanged at the whims of anything. Mr Speaker, the reasons that theElectoral Commissioner set out at thepodium today, is not sufficient enough areason to amend our Constitution. Mr Speaker, we often say internationalbest practice -- [Interruption.] Mr Mahama Ayaiga -- rose --
Hon Minister, do youhave a point of order?
Mr Speaker, I heard himsay that, the Electoral Commissioner isseeking to amend the Constitution, but itis the Hon Attorney-General and Ministerfor Justice who has brought the Bill tothis House. So, I thought he should becorrected, that it is not the chairman ofthe Electoral Commission who is seekingto amend the Constitution of the country.
Hon Members, at theSecond Reading, the three workingdocuments are: the Memorandum to theBill, the Committee's Report and the Billitself. So, Hon Member for ManhyiaSouth, take that on board. problems of transition, when did thatproblem arise? [Inerruption.] Mr Ayariga -- rose --
Hon Minister, on a pointof order.
That is so Mr Speaker.The Hon Member said that to deal withthe issues of a transition, all we need is aTransition Bill. We cannot resolve thetransitional issues without buyingadditional time.
Hon Member, what isyour point of order? What is the specificpoint of order?
Mr Speaker, he ismisleading the clause because, the issuehere is time, and time is cast in stone inthe Constitution. So, to buy more time,we would have to amend the Constitution,to give us more time, then we can have aTransition Bill which deals with theadministrative issues in the transition.
Mr Speaker, I quote, thesecond paragraph in the Memorandum tothe Bill: “Currently, the dates set aside inrespect of the conduct of both thePresidential and Parliamentaryelections in the country is the 7thday of December while swearing-inof the President takes place on the7th day of January in the ensuingyear. However, the one monthperiod for the transition of onegovernment to the other, has overthe years proved insufficient for asmooth transition particularly, ininstances where there is a run-offelection as was the case in 2000 and2008.”
Mr Speaker, ConstitutionalInstrument (C. I.) on elections is broughtby the Electoral Commission (EC). TheHon Attorney-General and Minister forJustice, because of our working practice,brings the Bill to the floor of the House.My assertion this morning - the reasonsthe Hon Attorney-General and Ministerfor Justice has given, that this nationshould change its fundamental law, doesnot hold water. The basic reason the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice gives tothis House, is transition. Our experiencein this nation is that, we have had sixgeneral elections and about three of themor two major ones had gone to the secondor third round, and Ghana had not fallento pieces. International best practice would tellus that it is not the date of the electionthat, matters, but the PresidentialTransition Act. Time and again, we havecalled for the amendment of thePresidential Transition Act, yet, wehavenot seen any signs in this House.
Hon Member, we aredebating the Constitutional (Amendment)Bill, 2016. That is why I made the pointthat, under the Constitution and StandingOrders, the three documents are theMemorandum, the Bill and theCommittee's Report. You can makereference but we are -- Hon Members,please limit yourselves to the Motion.
Mr Speaker, does itinclude what the Hon Attorney-Generaland Minister for Justice said on thepodium? It is in the Memorandum that,they stated the deficiencies of the electoralsystem -- I am saying that, we do nothave enough deficiencies to warrant achange in the fundamental law of the land.That is my point. If it is because of the
Thankyou, Mr Speaker. I rise to associate myself with theReport from your Committee onConstitutional, Legal and ParliamentaryAffairs, and urge the House --[Interruptions.]
Hon Members, thebackground noise is getting out ofcontrol. Let us listen to one another.
Mr Speaker,I just wanted to assure myself on the needfor a gender intervention. It is onlyapplicable to -- Hon Hajia Boforo is there,so, if you could call her. It should notonly apply to our side. [Laughter]
Hon Minority Leader, youare completely out of order. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, I rise tosupport the Report of your Committee onConstitutional, Legal and ParliamentaryAffairs on the Constitutional (Amendment)Bill, 2016, and to urge my Hon ColleagueMembers of Parliament to vote in supportof the amendment to move the date forelections from the 7thday of December, tothe first Monday of November. Mr Speaker, the Constitutional historyof this country is replete with experiencesthat have compelled us over the years toamend Constitutions to take cognisanceof developments, which developmentssecure our democracy on a firmfoundation. Mr Speaker, everybody in this Houseis aware that in the year 2008, we werenearly on the verge of constitutionalcrises. We had gone into elections, we hadgone into a run-off and there was talkandapprehension, whether the run-off wouldproduce the winner of the elections, anddetermine the leadership of this country. Mr Speaker, indeed, that was when theseeds of the amendment to theConstitution were sown.Today is themanifestation of what we ought to do toamend the Constitution to give time. Mr Speaker, what the amendment isseeking to do is to give time to theElectoral Commission (EC) to conductelections and the political transition to Mr Speaker, my fundamental point isthat, this is not a good enough reason tochange the fundamental law of the land. Andit is in the Memorandum -- [Interruption]-- It is my opinion.
On a point of order.Mr Speaker, we cannot, for the sake ofdebate, turn the Constitutional law of thiscountry upside down. We have ahierarchy of laws. If we were to go andamend the Transition Act which conflictswith the Constitution, what are we goingto do? So,we have to amend theConstitution first, then put it in theTransitional Act. All these niceties that the Hon Memberis raising -- it is like putting the cartbefore the horse, because, theConstitution is fundamental and if it issupposed to address a number of issues,we have to address it from the Constitutionand come down to the Transitional Act.That is the issue.
Mr Speaker, we shouldrealise that, in this country, as we speak,there is a Presidential Transition Act. Itdoes not need an amendment in the sensethat, the Hon Member said. My point is, if we want to amend 7thDecember, and bring it forward to 7thNovember and our reason is transition,then it is misplaced. It is a waste ofGhana's money. I say so because, incountries where democracy has beenpractised for long, they all haveTransitional Acts. In America, theTransitional Act insists that --
Hon Member, we are notdebating the Transitional Act. We aredebating the Motion before us. HonMember for Manhyia South, you have oneminute to conclude. Mr Speaker, what are we supposed todo? As Hon Members of Parliament, weare invited to amend the Constitution andbring back the time for election to beconducted. Hon Members of Parliamentdo not conduct elections; it is theElectoral Commission which does so. Mr Speaker, your Committee's Reporthas clearly stated that, the EC is readyand prepared, if this Bill is passed, toconduct the elections on the 7thday ofNovember, 2016. Mr Speaker, that being so, what weought to do as a House, is to facilitatethe process of ensuring that the ECconducts the election on the first Mondayof November, to give ample time for thetransition process to take off. Mr Speaker, this is a legacy that thisHouse can leave to succeeding genera-tions where political acrimony, rigor,rancour and suspicion that characterisetransitions would be a thing of the past. Mr Speaker, in this light, this is ahistoric movement for this House, and Iurge Hon Members of this House to riseup to the occasion, and vote for theamendment of the Bill, to ensure that,future generations would not be sittingon tenterhooks when elections areconducted. It would be recorded that thisParliament did the right thing by amendingthe date. Mr Speaker, I thank you for theopportunity to contribute.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, forgiving me this opportunity to contributeto the Motion. Mr Speaker, the Bill is brilliant and Ifully support the ideas as contained in theMemorandum. Mr Speaker, in my view, and to manyGhanaians, more credible incident free andsmooth election is preferable to a smoothtransition which we even have a law tosupport. Mr Speaker, as the Hon ActingChairman of the Special BudgetCommittee, I have always told my HonMembers not to discuss financial issuesrelating to the elections on radio, but todo it on the floor.That is why I would wantus to advert our minds to how ready theEC is financially. Mr Speaker, we need to ensure that theEC is well resourced, well equipped andwell prepared for this election. Mr Speaker, the EC requested forGH¢1.205 billion to enable it prosecutethis election. In the 2016 Budget Statement,the Ministry of Finance and theGovernment gave the EC GH¢825,000,000.00 out of that. Mr Speaker, as we speak, no one knowswhere the remaining GH¢400,000,000.00would come from. Not even the HonMinister for Finance himself. Exceptprobably, tomorrow, he would come andtell us where it would comefrom.He hasnot given us an indication that he knowswhere that money would come from. Mr Speaker, out of the GH¢825,000,000.00calculated --[Interruption]
On a pointof order. Mr Speaker, the Hon Colleagueis grossly misleading this House. Mr Speaker, in the 2016 BudgetStatement, yes, we did provide forGH¢825,000,000.00 for the EC, but we alsohave in excess of GH¢200,000,000.00budgeted for under General GovernmentServices, for the purposes of conductingthis election. So, the Hon Member, is grosslymisleading this House. The amount is notjust GH¢825,000,000.00. We have GH¢825,000,000.00 plus GH¢200,000,000.
Mr Speaker, theHon Deputy Minister for Finance isactually deceiving everybody here. Wehave asked him several times, and he hasnever come out with this. Mr Speaker, what he talked about is, incase there should be a run-off, they haveearmarked GH¢200,000,000.00 somewhereto prosecute that. That is what he is talkingabout. What I said was that,GH¢1.205 billion wasrequested for, they allocated GH¢825,000,000.00and there is a balance of GH¢400,000,000.00, andthey have at this point, not explained to anybodywhere they would get it from. So, I am righton what I said. Mr Speaker, this is a very serious issue,so we should not toy with it. Out of theGH¢825,000,000.00 that has been allocatedto the EC, the Ministry of Finance hasreleased GH¢687,000,000.00, leaving abalance of about GH¢138,000,000.00. Outof the GH¢687,000,000.00 released, onlyGH¢461,000,000.00 has been transferred tothe EC in cash, as we speak. What thismeans is that, aboutGH¢ 226,000,000.00so called released amount has not beengiven to the EC in cash. Mr Speaker, that means that, out of theGH¢1.205 billion that they need, only onethird has reached them in terms of cashand we have only three months to go. Where would the remaining amount comefrom? Mr Speaker, the EC is being asked bythe Ministry of Finance to pre-finance thiselection. Maybe, out of goodwill, somevendors-- Mr Forson — On a point of order. Mr Speaker, the Hon Colleague is againmisleading the House. I say this because,releases are tied in into the cash flow ofthe Electoral Commission — [Uproar.]The Chairman of the ElectoralCommission presented their cash flow tothe Ministry of Finance. Mr Speaker, in doing so, we presentedthe Electoral Commissioner with releases.These releases are supposed to beprocessed on the Ghana IntegratedFinancial Management InformationSystem (GIFMIS) platform as and whenthe cash requirements are needed.Thisdoes not necessarily mean that we havereleased and we are failing to pay theElectoral Commissioner. Mr Speaker, if the Electoral Chairmanof the Commission to is go on the GIFMISplatform today and ask for cash, it wouldbe available as required — [Uproar]. Thatis not the case — [Uproar]
Mr Speaker, I stillinsist that I am in consultation with theElectoral Commissioner (EC) and out ofthe GH¢687 million released, only GH¢461million has been given to them in cash asI speak today. It means that, GH¢226million has not been released to them. Thismeans that, out of the GH¢1.2 billion thatthey need, only a third had been given to
Hon Member, please windup.
Mr Speaker, thisfinancial constraint, if they are evenresolved today, with a supplementarybudget tomorrow, the EC would find itdifficult to conduct a credible electionwithin the time at its disposal if we donot even change the date. But if wechange the date, it is going to worsen thesituation.
Hon Member, conclude.
Mr Speaker, Iwould therefore suggest that we defer thisBill for the next Parliament to revisit it —[Hear! Hear!]
Mr Speaker, I thank youfor the opportunity to contribute to theMotion, that the Constitution (Amendment)Bill, 2016 be now read a Second time.
associate with losers, it would beimperative to reconcile the date forholding the elections. So, it was agreedthat, because 7th of December was theonly date that provides congruence forthe holding of both the Presidential andParliamentary elections, general electionsshould be conducted on the 7th December.That is why we have always held electionson 7th of December since 1996. Mr Speaker, however, the experiencein 2000, and indeed, much more show in2008, provides us with the cause to havea rethink of the calendar. Mr Speaker, in 2008, after the elections,the conduct of the general elections onDecember 7th, we could not determine anoutright winner, so there had to be asecond run, which was held two weeksafter and that then took us to the 21st ofDecember. That Constituency could still notdetermine the winner for us; we neededto depend on Tain, which was held, andthe result declared, on the 4th of January.We then had barely three days for thetransition to happen. So, it becameimperative that, as a nation, we shouldhave a rethink. Mr Speaker, in principle, nobody inGhana would be against the proposal thatwe should have a rethink and bring thedate forward. The exercise that we aredoing today is in respect of article 106 (2)(a) which relates to the Second Readingof Bills. It provides, and with yourpermission, I beg to quote: “No Bill, other than such a Bill! Asis referred to in paragraph(a) ofarticle 108 of this Constitution, shallbe introduced in Parliament unless— a) It is accompanied by anexplanatory memorandumsetting out in detail the policyand principles of the Bill, thedefects of the existing law, theremedies proposed to deal Mr Speaker, indeed, article 112 (4) ofour Constitution, which is on the conductof general elections provides, and withyour permission, I beg to quote: “Subject to clause (2) of article 113of this Constitution, a generalelection of members of Parliamentshall be held within thirty daysbefore the expiration of the periodspecified in clause (1) of that article;and a session of Parliament shall beappointed to commence withinfourteen days after the expiration ofthat period.” Mr Speaker, so, the conduct of thegeneral elections which relates to theParliamentary elections, constitutionally,could only be held not earlier than the 7thofDecember. Technically, we do not have adate of closure for the conduct ofParliamentary elections. But practically,maybe, one could say that it goes to eventhe 5th of January, given the fact that onthe conduct of elections, the declarationas has always been, could not happen onthe same day. So, we would await,maybe,at least,one more day; 24 hours forthe results to be released. Mr Speaker, article 63 (2)(a) of theConstitution provides that in respect ofthe presidential elections, it could onlybe held not earlier than four months orone month before the term of office of thePresident expires. Which means that, forthe Presidential elections, the earliest dateis 7th September and the last date is 7thDecember. Mr Speaker, in 1992 when electionswere conducted, the Presidential electionswere first held ahead of the Parliamentaryelections, and it was agreed that, giventhe circumstances of the country, with noparticular person or group wanting to
Hon Deputy Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, do youhave a point of order?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
What is your point oforder?
Mr Speaker, I think the HonMinority Leader is misleading the House.[Interruption.] This is because in termsof internal logic of article 63 of theConstitution, there would be no need fora Constitutional Instrument to be broughthere after we have amended article 112 ofthe Constitution. [Uproar.] That isbecause the Constitution itself providesthat the election of the President shall beheld within four months of the end of theterm of the President. It means that in its sense, if thisamendment goes through, the EC can usethe existing Constitutional Instruments inorder to be able to conduct the election.Sohe is misleading the House. [Uproar.]
Mr Speaker,I am indeed surprised by the position ofthe Hon Deputy Attorney-General andMinister for Justice. Mr Speaker, it is the Constitution thatwe adopted that gave us the calendar forthe presidential elections. Let him readarticle 63 (2);it says and I beg to quote: “The election of the President shallbe held in the terms of universaladult suffrage and shall, subject tothe provisions of this Constitution,be conducted in accordance withsuch regulations as may beprescribed by constitutionalinstrument…” [Interruption.] Hold your peace!
On apoint of order. Mr Speaker, I believe thatthe Hon Minority Leader has made twopoints; one has to do with theconcurrent amendment of the --
Hon Minister, I thoughtyou would wait to have the last word. Ithought you would take note and havethe last word if you feel strongly about it.
Very well, MrSpeaker. atmosphere by saying that, the NPP isagainst it, in principle, we are not! Mr Speaker, the Institute of EconomicAffairs (IEA) subsequently held a forumat Koforidua and invited all the politicalparties again in early 2014. In fact, at themeeting, the position of the NPP was thatwe should bring it forward. The papersubmitted by the IEA to the ECencapsulated the position of the NPP,which was that, we should bring itforward. Let nobody pollute theatmosphere that the NPP is against it.[Hear! Hear!] Mr Speaker, the political parties had towait, even though the various memorandawere submitted to the EC in January, upto March. The EC waited until October2014, when they summoned the politicalparties and told them that they wereaggregating the memoranda. Thereafter,they appointed a Committee to deal withthe issues on the way forward. All these were occasioned by and atthe insistence of the New Patriotic Party(NPP). So, it can never be true that theNPP is contradicting itself; we are not. MrSpeaker, we have been very consistent inour advocacy. Mr Speaker, the state of unpreparednessof the EC is something that is coming up.Various Hon Members who have spokenon this issue have alluded to the fact that,the registers have as of yet not beencertified; issues relating to transfer ofvotes and the exhibition of the registerwhich we are doing today. Mr Speaker, what is happening nowinvolves both the exhibition of the registerand the concurrent event of registeringpersons, according to the EC when it wentbefore the Supreme Court, which was inthe region of about 4 million who had usedNational Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)cards to register. “…by the Electoral Commission bythe Electoral Commission and shallbe held so as to begin -- a) where a President is in office,not earlier than four monthsnor later than one monthbefore his term of officeexpires;” Mr Speaker, I am not reading article 63(1) (b) because we are not talking of thevacation of the Office of the Presidency.So, 63 (1) (b) would not in this case apply.But, I may read (1) (b); and Mr Speaker,with your permission it says: “In any other case, within threemonths after the office of thePresident becomes vacant;” Mr Speaker, there is a conjunct -- “andshall be held at such place andshall begin at such date as theElectoral Commission shall, byconstitutional instrument, specify.” I am surprised that he is saying that --[Interruption.] Mr Speaker, but let me go on. He isreading the small size Constitution. Lethim read the bigger size one, perhaps, hewould understand. [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, the point I made was thatbecause the calendar -- [Interruptions.]
Order! Order! Hon Members, why the noise? Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker,the point is that, because we did not
Mr Speaker,but if she wants to debate it now, I amready for her, it would further illuminatethe House. Mr Speaker, I made the point that asfar as I am concerned, article 106 (11) ofthe Constitution makes no exceptions. Itprovides and with your permission, I begto quote: “Without prejudice to the powerof Parliament to postpone theoperation of the law, a bill shall notbecome law until it has been dulypassed and assented to inaccordance with the provisions ofthis Constitution and shall not comeinto force unless it has beenpublished in the Gazette.” Mr Speaker, the only caveat is providedin article 106 (11). I do not understandwhy where the Hon Attorney-General andMinister for Justice is saying that, ifParliament agree to make the law andpostpone its operational date we cannot.Let her show it to us. I am surprised. Mr Speaker, again, let it not be said byanyone that, the National Patriotic Party(NPP) as a party is in principle againstbringing the date forward. Mr Speaker,after the court case in 2013, the thenChairman of the EC requested from thepolitical parties various memoranda on thereforms as they envisaged. Indeed, in January 2014, the NPP wasthe first party to submit our memorandumon electoral reforms. And we suggestedthat, given the experience of the nation in2008 we should conduct the electionsearlier than December 7th. We proposedthat it could either be in October orNovember -- let nobody pollute the
Now, they have supplied a list which isfar less than that figure. Assuming thereis a 4-million turnout, not all of them arenon-Ghanaians. The vast majority areGhanaians; Let us say about 95 per centof those who registered with NHIS cardsare Ghanaians, they would need to registeragain. Technically, after their registration,there would have to be another exhibitionfor them to know that their names havebeen captured. Mr Speaker, where is the provision forthat in the calendar of the EC? That is thedanger we are leading ourselves into. Thisyear the EC has already had to changetheir calendar on three different occasions.As to what people are saying that, theyare ready and releases have been made tothem, the Hon Deputy Minister forFinance is not in the Chamber but hewould agree with me that, there wereoccasions that we have met the EC andthey have agreed that the Ministry ofFinance is in default of releases to them. Mr Speaker, even the GH¢1.2 billionthat has been cited, the original budgetthat they brought to the Special BudgetCommittee was about GH¢1.45 billion. Wehad to go through it with them item byitem on three different occasions and wesucceeded as a Committee in pruning thatbudget down by close to GH¢200 million. The Ministry of Finance then left it tothem because the time was too close forthe presentation of the Budget Statementto go through again and do further re-engineering on the amount that they evenasked for. We left them and that was theend of it. It explains why, today, the Ministry ofFinance is not releasing all the amount tothe EC. They have indicated to them thatthey should produce their documents Mr Speaker, I thank you very much forthe limited period. [Hear! Hear!] [Uproar]
Hon Majority Leader?[Pause]
Thank youvery much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I stand to support theMotion that the Constitution (Amendment)Bill, 2016 be now read a Second time. Mr Speaker, we have heard and listenedto various contributions and I think wehave got enough information why as acountry we have decided to move in thisdirection. Mr Speaker, the narrated history,particularly, by the Hon Minority Leaderis true. Mr Speaker, it was a shock in 1992,when after the Presidential elections, ourHon Colleagues on the opposite sideboycotted the Parliamentary elections. This is because, as he stated, noGhanaian wanted to be part of theOpposition. Therefore, the likelihood ofthem voting for the candidates of awinning President was very high. That, atleast, showed that, there is no perfectionin law-making. Inasmuch as we tried as a country tomake sure that the days for thePresidential elections were different fromthat of the Parliamentary elections, we didnot anticipate that, we could get theseresults, which were given in 1992. So, thewhole country started thinking aboutways and means of improving upon thelegal framework. Mr Speaker, it is only in Ghana that twomonths before the conduct of electionsthe country does not even know thenumber of Constituencies that would becontesting. What kind of attitude is that?It is only in Ghana -- Four years on, if elections are to hold,because as I have indicated, we require aConstitutional Instrument (C.I.), if we scalethis hurdle, we would have to Sit the wholeof August to have it passed, then, weshall have the two months of Septemberand October for the conduct of theelections. What kind of attitude is this? Mr Speaker, I believe that, the principleis accepted and acknowledged byeverybody, but for practical reasons, wecannot always be pushing ourselves tothe precipes. The principle is understood;the NPP is the party that led this clarioncall. Let it be registered that we are notrunning away from the principle at all. Mr Speaker, we are for the principle.The nation has heard the rather parlousstate of affairs at the EC itself as far as thefinances and the calendar for the holdingof elections are concerned. That is why ifthe intention is to operationalise what weare doing this year, I am afraid, the NPPcannot abide by that. [Hear! Hear!] Mr Speaker, we started the clarion callfor the principle and we are for it, but theoperationalisation is what we areconcerned about. If indeed, it can go to2020, we are all home and dry. I do not seethe alacrity and strength being employedat this rate. Mr Speaker, I do not see it. Let us be very circumspect in this andI believe that as a nation, we shall all betogether in defending the principle andthen look at the operational bit.
is now the turn of this House to performits duty. Mr Speaker, but we seem to bebacktracking. No; we must perform thatduty and support the decision of thepeople of Ghana. [Hear! Hear!] That iswhat is expected of us. We cannot fail thepeople of Ghana. Mr Speaker, I listened to the HonMinority Leader talk about theConstitutional Instrument (C. I.) and thefact that it needed some 21 Sitting days. Mr Speaker, the decision of theSupreme Court in this matter is clear. Thereare some Instruments, which arelegislative;and there are some, which areinformative. Mr Speaker, this Instrument is in theform of an information. It does not need21 Sitting days. That is my position. It isgiving information on the date of thegeneral elections, and the word used isspecified. That is what is used in theConstitution. So, we do not need to Sit for 21 daysbefore that C.I. comes into force.[Uproar.] Mr Speaker, I am sometimes surprisedby us looking at countries that are behindus and seeing them to be performing betterthan us. I am surprised for people toelevate Kenya above Ghana; I do notknow in what respect. The Kenyan reforms took a lot of timebecause they were also creating a secondChamber. They now have a secondChamber. That is not what we seek to dohere. That is why it took that length oftime. We are ahead of Kenya. It is not onlyin independence; the level of education, the economy, standard of living or our percapita show that we are ahead of them.[Interruption.] They should please check their facts.Please, they should not take us back. Weshould talk about what we are asked todo here today. Mr Speaker, as I stated earlier, we arecalled upon by the people of Ghana topass a law to implement a decision thathas been taken by the people of Ghana,that we should change the date that wasachieved through consensus to alegislation, which should specify the dateof the general elections. Mr Speaker, as we learn from othercountries, instead of using Tuesday, as isdone in the United States of America, weare using Monday. Are Hon Membersrunning away from this? That issurprising. [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, I know that we are goingto vote; and it is going to be by secretballoting; but the records must have it. Itis here for future generations to gothrough -- [Interruption] -- I need notelling from their submissions that theydo not intend for -- This is because, clearly, my HonColleague, the Hon Minority Leader,ended his statement emphatically that,the only thing they would support is, ifthe amendment seeks to take effect from2020. That was clear. So, I do not need for them to tell methat they are going to vote against mebecause I am making this submission. Ithas already been stated clear and loud bythe Hon Minority Leader. [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, enough has been said andas the Hon Chairman of the Special BudgetCommittee, I would want to stateemphatically that, the EC has stated --Even yesterday, the EC reaffirmed itsposition that, it is ready to conduct thegeneral elections. [Hear! Hear!] Mr Speaker, every other person is readyfor the first Monday of November, 2016,except my Hon Colleagues on theopposite side. When would they be ready? Even for7th December, 2016, I am sure they wouldnot be ready. Mr Speaker, with this, I support theMotion. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Hon Attorney-Generaland Minister for Justice, wind-up.
Mr Speaker, justtwo points. The first point relates to whatthe Hon Minority Leader refers to as “acommonsensical approach to amendingthis Constitution”. He talks about article62 (3) which should have been amendedconcurrently with article 112 (4). Unfortunately, even though hedescribes it as “a commonsensicalapproach”, the Constitution will notpermit it. Article 62 (3) comes under chapter8 which is entrenched; and article 112 (4)is non-entrenched. So, they are notthe same. [Interrupt ion]-- Theycannot be amended, so, we cannotamend in this Bill --
Mr Speaker, wecannot amend an entrenched provisionin this Bill. Mr Speaker, again, we were informedby our experiences in the other elections. I am really surprised that some of thesethings are being said about the ElectoralCommission (EC). This is because my Hon Colleagues onthe opposite side were in power from 2001to 2008. In 2004, there was no time thatthe EC was ever given the money inadvance. We met the EC with the HonLeadership of this House in the HonMajority Leader's office many times todeliberate on these issues that are stillconfronting us. So, this is not the first time. In 2004and 2008, we did; but at the end of theday, the EC discharged their duties withcredibility and got the applause of thewhole world, except the doubtingThomases. So, this is not the first time. Mr Speaker, the Committee haspresented a Report, which recommendsfor this House to accept the proposal ofthe country to shift the date of electionfrom 7 th December, which was byconvention and not by law, to the firstMonday of November by law. Mr Speaker, if we are not ready by 7thNovember, 2016, we would not be readyby 7th December, 2016. [Hear! Hear!] MrSpeaker, this House cannot fail the peopleof Ghana. All the other stakeholders haveperformed their functions well. We put upa Committee; they submitted a Report;consultations have been held by the ECwith all the stakeholders, including theparties that sponsored us to be here andthey have all agreed. They have come before the Committee;they have stated their positions; theCommittee has submitted a Report; and it
Mr Speaker, I amurging the House to go according tochapter 25 of the Constitution --
Hon Members --
Mr Speaker, ifyou read article 291 (1) -- Amendment ofNon-Entrenched Provisions; it clearlystates how we amend non-entrenchedprovisions of the Constitution. There isnothing about postponement in article 291(1). Mr Speaker, if you look at article 106(1), it talks about -- Mode of ExercisingLegislative Power to make laws. This isnot an ordinary Bill; this is aboutamending the Constitution. Mr Speaker, we are here seeking simplyto implement the decisions of IPAC thatthey came to in relation to the time forelections. So, we are humbly urging thisHouse to massively support this Bill.
Hon Members, thatbrings us to the end -- Unfortunately, Iam not in a position to interpret theConstitution. We can only apply theConstitution at this stage. Hon Members, that brings us to theend of the debate on the Second Readingof the Constitution (Amendment) Bill,2016. Yes?
Mr Speaker,respectfully, I agree with the positionexcept that, the Hon Attorney-General andMinister for Justice is speaking in theHouse, when she says that Parliamentdoes not have the power to postpone suchlaws that we are making and that she findsexpression in article 291 (1); can she showus?
Hon Member, please --
Mr Speaker,it does not exist.
Hon Member, please, thatis the view of the Hon Attorney-Generaland Minister for Justice and this is alsoyour view. Your view is that it can bepostponed; another person's view is thatit cannot be. So, let us make progress. HonMembers, at the conclusion of the debate,the House shall now proceed to take adecision. Since we are considering a Billto amend a provision of the Constitution,article 104 (4) and Standing Order 110 (a)require that voting should be by a secretballot. [Hear! Hear!] Hon Members, article 104 (4) states; “Where Parliament is considering abill to amend the Constitution, orwhere the voting is in relation to theelection or removal of any personunder this Constitution or underany other law, voting shall be insecret.” Standing Order 110 (a) states; “There shall be secret voting in theHouse in respect of;- (a) a Bill for an Act of Parliamentto amend any provision of theConstitution;…” Hon Members, the rule and the law isthat, where the Constitution has providedfor a certain procedure, Parliament doesnot have the power to depart from thatprocedure. Hon Members, therefore, I will at thispoint -- and secret ballot means secretballot -- [Uproar] . The Clerk toParliament is to ensure that each Memberis provided with a ballot paper for HonMembers to record their votes. We havethe register here, we shall go according toit and we shall call Hon Membersaccording -- [Pause.] So, at this stage -- [Interruption.] [Pause.] Order! [Pause.] Hon Members, we have preparedballot papers with my signature and thestamp of my office on it. [Uproar.] Hon Members, resume your seats! Everybody in the Chamber shouldresume his or her seat. Hon Members, apart from theLeadership, everybody would be calledaccording to the Register here and inalphabetical order to receive his or herballot paper and cast his or her vote. Hon Members, we would ask the HonMajority and Minority Chief Whips tonominate one of their deputies to act asan agent for each side. [Pause.] Hon Members, having regard to thestate of business, I direct that the Sittingbe held outside the prescribed period. [Uproar.]
Hon Members, resumeyour seats. Hon Members, we are about to startcasting the votes. The ballot papercontains two boxes, one for ‘aye',indicating approval of the Motion and theother for ‘no', indicating rejection of theMotion. May I now call on the Clerk to startissuing the ballot papers for the voting tocommence.
Mr Speaker,I have made an observation. This isbecause there were two different pens,one in blue and the other in black and I wanted us to begin with just identicalcolour. If it is blue, it should be bluethroughout. Not one blue, one black. Hesays that he has done that. Let us justtest them. If it is blue-blue, fine.
They are all blue.
Mr Speaker,that was not the initial arrangement butnow if we have it, fine. Let us test them tosee that they are blue-blue. [Hon Members were called to cast theirballots one after the other.]
Hon Members, anybodywho exposes his vote to the Members ofthe House, his vote would be disqualified.It is a secret ballot; a Constitutionalrequirement. It is not from the Speaker orParliament, but the Constitution. We haveall taken the oath to abide by theConstitution of the Republic of Ghana.Nobody can come here and showindiscipline on the floor of the House.
Mr Speaker,we should be thanking you for the advice.But who is going to do the pronouncement?Is it going to be from the Chair, that youhave seen that somebody has shown it,so immediately, you pronounce?
I have seen it myself.Please, we should not do that. You haveyour vote, you do not need to show it topeople for it to be counted. That is notcorrect. Hon Members, resume your seats. [The House was divided] Hon Members, the results of the secretballots are as follows: Noes -- 95 Hon Members, article 291, clause 3,requires that Parliament needs at least thevotes of two thirds of all Members ofParliament to approve the Bill at theSecond Reading Stage. And that twothirds is 184, because the two thirds of274 is 183.333 recurring. Therefore, theConstitution (Amendment) Bill, 2016 isrejected at the Second Reading.
Order! Order! Hon Members, it is past 4.00 o'clockand the adjournment of the House is atmy pleasure, but I would find out from theHon Majority Leader if he has anythingto say. Hon Minority Leader, do you haveanything to say?
Mr Speaker,not really except to express profoundappreciation to Hon Members for theexercise that we have just gone through.Mr Speaker, but having said that, to alsoremind Hon Members that tomorrow at8.30 in the morning, we may have to be atthe forecourt to mourn with the family ofour departed Colleague, Hon Peter WiafePepera. Mr Speaker, I thank you.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I beg to movethat we adjourn even though it is at yourdiscretion. I think that we should adjourn.I do not have anything to say.