COVID19 cast a stone at Ghana’s presidential election

COVID19 cast a stone at Ghana’s presidential election

The parliament seemed unperturbed as Ghana topped coronavirus tallies in West Africa as discussions over poll uncertainty break sweat.

The issue of political uncertainty surrounding the upcoming December polls was raised in parliament by the Majority Leader who also doubles as Minister of Parliamentary Affairs.

Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu said the parliament need to liaise with the election body and other stakeholders on how to proceed if the pandemic eventually scuttles the keenly awaited vote.

“Mr. Speaker, we all have to look at the Electoral Commission to put in the required measures towards the conduct of the election because, the constitution as we all recognize is a bit ambivalent beyond January 7, 2020, when elections cannot be conducted or even in the case of any force Majeure who should be the President.

“There is a bit of some lacuna except to say that for Parliament that in case of any emergence, provision is made and expressed under the constitution on how the life of Parliament is extended by one year in any event not more than four years everything by 12 months. In that period, who becomes the Head of State?

“Is it the Speaker in the absence of the President and Vice President, that is a bit troubling to us as a nation. “In any event, the same constitution provides that when the speaker acts as President within three months, there should be the conduct of an election to elect a President.

“So there is a bit of conflicting situation in the constitution. So Mr. Speaker until all of us agree on something else, noting responsible could be done so I hope that the appropriate thing is done.”

The ban on public gathering which is still in place despite the lifting of a lockdown means that even electoral campaigns are not feasible. The Electoral Commission drew the ire of a section of Ghanaians when it decided to proceed with controversial voter registration in one region.

At the time when the coronavirus cases were rising, opposition voices and a number of civil society organization described the EC’s continued operation as reckless and a danger to the public. A court ruled against it.

Ghana’s official case count as of April 30 stood at 2,074 with 17 deaths and 212 recoveries according to official data. The figure means Ghana maintains top spot in the West African subregion.

The country also beats Cameroon to become the second most impacted in sub-Saharan Africa only behind South Africa. Ghana recorded an increase of 795 cases over a week, i.e. between April 24 – 30.