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Politics of Thursday, 9 February 2006

Source: Chronicle

Burger? bill is unnecessary -NPP top gun

Mr. Andy Appiah-Kubi, one of the aspirants for the General Secretary position of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in its last congress, has described as irrelevant and unnecessary, the government?s concerted efforts at enacting the Representation of the Peoples (Amendment) Bill (ROPAB) into law.

According to him, the whole process of giving much exposure to the bill was not only irrelevant and unnecessary, but also an exercise in futility.

He told The Chronicle that enacting the law would be tantamount to treating a wound of a dead person, stressing that the law that the government is pursuing to enact is inconsistent with the nation?s constitution.

?I think that the process of the law and the enactment is unnecessary because the constitution has given the right unconditionally to all Ghanaians to exercise their franchise in Article 42 of the constitution. The Ghanaian Constitution provides the right as premised on citizenship and not domicile and therefore the place of domicile has no effect on the right to vote,? he said.

He explained in the interview last week that the furore that has characterized the ROPAB debate, and the government?s move to enact the law leaves much to be desired, since the law that it was trying to pass was needless.

?I find the whole exercise of trying to enact a law that seeks to grant a pre-guaranteed constitutional right, as irrelevant, a waste of man-hours and resources and unfortunate,? he emphasized, contending, ?If there is any dividend at all to Ghanaians, it is the cost which is negative in the process of this enactment.?

Mr. Appiah-Kubi, currently a law student at the University of Ghana, Legon, said it was unfortunate that the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs, failed to understand that the constitution granted the Electoral Commission (EC) the mandate to determine whether to create more polling stations or not, but embarked upon an exercise which in effect was futile.

?How can you enact a law which is already there? The law itself is void because it is inconsistent with Article 1(2) of the constitution which states; ?This Constitution shall be the supreme law of Ghana and any other law found to be inconsistent with any provision of this Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.?

Advancing his argument further, he said, section 8 of the PNDC law 284 per its constitution with Article 42, was void and therefore of no essence.

Expatiating further, Mr. Appiah-Kubi said as the constitution stood, it had already guaranteed the right to all Ghanaians and also granted the EC the responsibility of designing the modus of election per Constitutional Instrument (CI) but not the government, as in Article 51 of the constitution.

To this end, he urged Parliamentarians to be diligent in the exercise of their mandate under the constitution so that they would not embark on any exercise, which would not bring positive results to the nation.

He was of the view that since the EC had been mandated, the onus lay on them to determine whether or not it was necessary to create more polling stations outside the nation?s jurisdiction.

?Let us empower the EC to determine or manage proxy voting or redesigning of electoral or polling stations outside the geographical jurisdiction of Ghana,? he said.

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