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Failing to hold the Guan election before January 7 is an impeachable offence – Prof. Asare warns EC

US-based Ghanaian Professor of Law, Prof. Stephen Kwaku Asare has warned that the Electoral Commission may be in danger of committing an impeachable offence if it fails to create the Guan constituency in the Oti Region and makes constituents elect their representatives before January 7 when the 7th parliament will expire.

Jean Mensah, Executive Director of IEA

According to the renowned lawyer, “Guan runs the risk of not being represented in Parliament if the elections are not held by January 7 because any constituency created after the dissolution of parliament comes into effect at the next general election”, hence the EC must expedite processes to ensure the people within the yet-to-be-created constituency have a representative in parliament.

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He added: “Such an omission is unprecedented and may very well be an impeachable offense since it is a willful violation of the Constitution that strikes at the heart of representation.”

It would be recalled that a day before the December 7 elections, the EC announced that the Guan District would take part in only the presidential election, explaining that although the Guan district has been established, a constituency is yet to be created in that regard.

“The Commission wishes to announce for the information of the public, especially voters in the Buem Constituency that the 7th December 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections will take place in the Buem Constituency as scheduled from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm.

“However, as a result of the creation of the Guan District Local Government (Guan District Assembly) (Establishment) Instrument, 2020 and pending the creation of the Guan Constituency, eligible voters in the Guan District will vote only in the Presidential Election but not in the Parliamentary Election in the Buem Constituency.

“Voters in the Guan District are to take note of this Directive from the Electoral Commission,” the EC said in a statement on December 6.

The newly created Guan District consists of Santrofi, Akpafu, Likpe, and Lolobi.

With less than three weeks to the January 7 when the 8th parliament will take effect baring any hitches, Professor Asare said the EC has no option but to ensure the Guan constituency is created and parliamentary election held there before the expiration of the current parliament.

He took to his Facebook page to write: “I opposed the EC’s Guan December 6 directive, on grounds that all voters must take part in the general elections.

After all the Constitution commands that “Ghana shall be divided into as many constituencies for the purpose of election of members of Parliament as the Electoral Commission may prescribe, and each constituency shall be represented by one member of Parliament.”

This simply means the EC shall partition the country such that each voter belongs to a constituency who is represented by an MP.

It should be obvious that creating a new constituency after the general elections for constituents to vote to retroactively have a say in the general election is, of course, absurd and unconstitutional.

The notion that the creation of a constituency is pending and therefore voters in the pending constituency should not vote in a general election is preposterous and should never have been tolerated.

But I must confess that I did not expect the effect of the constitutional faux pas to come to bite so soon.

Based on multiple reports, the Parliamentary results are as follows:

NPP —— 137

NDC —— 137

IND ——- 1

NVY ——- 1

First, Guan has not voted yet ( NVY) but must vote before January 7, unless the EC wants to take away their voice in the opening of the 8th Parliament.

Guan runs the risk of not being represented in Parliament if the elections are not held by January 7 because any constituency created after the dissolution of parliament comes into effect at the next general election.

Such an omission is unprecedented and may very well be an impeachable offense since it is a willful violation of the Constitution that strikes at the heart of representation.

Second, there is going to be an even-numbered Parliament (275 + 1 = 276).

Third, depending on the outcome of the Guan “general-bye” election, Parliament could very well be evenly split. At best, one party may have a majority of 1.

Fourth, the tie makes the “general-bye” election even more significant because the new Guan MP could very well be the vote that determines who the next Speaker is.

Lastly, even though much has been made about the EC’s arithmetical errors, the Guan error may be its biggest headache.

It must marshal all resources to hold that election before January 7 or go down in permanent infamy.

The lesson here is inescapable. There is no room for violating the Constitution and when it is violated we must say so intensely and immediately. Violations always come back to bite us.

Join the GOGO movement for GOGO.

Da Yie!”

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