This year’s presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on December due to the failure of parliament to pass the Constitutional Amendment Bill.
On Thursday, July 21, 2016, out of 230 Members of Parliament, 125 voted for the Bill with the remaining 95 voting against it.
Had the bill been passed, it would have changed the original voting date of December 7 to November; but the Bill was always bound to hit a snag.
The National Democratic Congress needed the support of the Minority to pass it, but in Ghana’s parliament that is deeply polarized parliament.
Unlike the incumbent government MPs who were all for the Bill, the Minority NPP, kept changing their position on the decision about November.
Initially, the parliamentary front of the party was all for it but appears to have been pressured into backing the official party position which was echoed by the campaign chairman, Peter Mac Manu.
Mac Manu, at a public forum on the Constitutional Amendment Bill organised by parliament last week Monday, said the EC has failed to resolve some key issues that will enable smooth running of the election.
In addition to his concerns, the minority used voting on the bill to protest against the posture of EC, especially the chair, Charlotte Osei.
According to the Deputy Minority leader, Dominic Nitiwul, Mrs Osei posture does not support consensus building, which could result in problems in the processes toward changing the date from December 7 to November 7.
Before voting commenced in parliament, the Minority Spokesperson on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Joe Osei Owusu, expressed his doubts on the readiness of the EC in his submission.
According to him, changing the date from December of November could create a tight calendar for the EC.
He said the commission is overwhelmed by events such as the voter register exhibition exercise, training of election officers and procurement of election materials.
His position was backed by O.B. Amoah an NPP MP who said changing the data for this year’s election will create some challenges.
It’s clear the NPP never wanted the election date to be changed but were not bold enough to reject it in public.
In many media appearances prior to the vote, key NPP members kept emphasizing the unpreparedness of the Electoral Commission even though, Charlotte Osei has maintained that her outfit was ready to hold the election on November 7.
But Mrs Osei knew she had a vindictive Minority in parliament to deal. And she knew her November 7 proposal was in limbo.