In an unprecedented initiative, all four political parties with representation in Parliament have filed a writ at an Accra High Court, seeking to restrain the Electoral Commission (EC) from conducting by-elections in the Wulensi Constituency in the Northern Region and Kwabre West in the Ashanti Region.
The Electoral Commission has fixed the Wulensi by-election to replace Alhaji Sanni Iddi on July 31, 2012, while the vote to find a replacement for the late Mr. Emmanuel Asamoah Owusu in Kwabre West has been fixed for August 15. But the political parties are up in arms.
On behalf of his colleagues in the National Democratic Congress, the People's National Convention and the Convention People's Party, Mr. Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), told an Accra radio station yesterday, that the political parties were seeking a perpetual injunction on the commission from conducting the two by-elections, because the it has no valid voters register and voters identity cards for the exercise.
The Electoral Commission has made it clear that it intended to use the old register to conduct the exercise, because it was not ready with the biometric register. The political parties argue that the old register was no more valid for use in any election in the country.
"We don't challenge the Electoral Commission for going ahead with its constitutional mandate of holding the two by-elections. Our argument is that the only valid voters register available now is the biometric register. So if the EC is not ready with it, then it has no register to conduct the vote with."
On behalf of the Electoral Commission, Ms. Sylvia Annor, Principal Public Affairs Manager, said the biometric register could not be used, because the Commission had not eliminated double registration and other malpractices likely to arise from the registration exercise.
Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketia said it was precisely for that fact that the EC was not ready with a valid register, and that was why the political parties were requesting the Commission to stay the by-elections. "Hell would not break loose if we don't hold these by-elections."
He said laws were made for man and not man for laws, so if it was not convenient to hold these by-elections, nothing was compelling the commission to do so.
He said the NDC and the NPP had held meetings with Dr. Afari-Gyan, and his deputy, Mr. Safo Kantanka, over the need to cancel the two votes, but the EC officials would not agree, which was why all the four political parties were seeking redress in the law court.