Coronavirus: Too Early To Call For Suspension Of General Elections-Majority Leader

Majority Leader of Ghana’s parliament Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu says the debate to suspend Ghana’s election over the coronavirus outbreak is too early.

The experienced legislator is of the strong conviction that Ghana would be able to deal with the outbreak before we go to the polls.

The MP made the remarks when he was asked if the suggestion to postpone our general elections was justified.

Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said President Akufo-Addo has vowed not to allow a single day to pass his mandate after his first term is over.

He indicated Ghana could even to adopt safety measures including social distancing if we still have to vote on December 7, 2020.

He said the Electoral Commission (EC) by law is mandated to come before parliament in that regard.

He explained for parliament, the constitution has made provision for parliament to continue sitting for a year and a maximum of four years when there is a national emergency.

That of the president he indicated was not defined by the constitution.

Clause 2 of Article 113 of Ghana’s Constitution states that ”At any time when Ghana is actually engaged in war, Parliament may, from time to time by resolution supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds of all the members of Parliament, extend the period of four years specified in clause (1) of this article for not more than twelve months at a time, except that the life of Parliament shall not be extended under this clause for more than four years.”

He further explained the Speaker of Parliament per the provision of the constitution under Articles 60, 11 and 13, act as president when there is an emergency but is expected to put in place measures to have the presidential election organise in three months.

The Electoral Commission suspended its planned compilation of new voters’ register because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

It was initially scheduled for April 18, 2020, but no new date has since been announced.

The EC has said it wants to ensure that the register that is used on the election day is more credible and efficient than the existing one hence the need for a new Biometric Voter Management System (BVMS).

The President’s ban on all public gatherings, conferences, workshops, funerals, festivals, religious activities included political rallies and all other related events as part of measures to stop the spread of coronavirus in the country.

He extended the ban by two weeks in his 8 national address to the nation.

Meanwhile, he says a decision has not been taken yet as to when the ban would be lifted.

Speaking in an address to some 3,000 participants who tuned into the webinar, the President said, Ghana’s borders, which have been closed to prevent the influx of foreigners carrying the disease into the country, will remain closed.

He said the extension of the ban was necessary and admonished Ghanaians to comply with it.

According to the president, a lot of information has been gathered on the geographical footprint of the virus, which has influenced the manner in which Ghana has handled the outbreak but relaxing the public gatherings restrictions is undecided at the moment.

The president said the overall picture is that the rate of infection has remained relatively constant.

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