Emergency sitting for C.I.73
By Stephen Odoi-Larbi
Parliament is considering recalling the Honourable Members of the House for an emergency sitting, from the 3rd to 27thof September, 2012. The move is to enable the members consider and adopt the corrected version of the controversial Constitutional Instrument 2012 (C.I.73), that seeks to create 45 new parliamentary constituencies, which was laid in the House on August 15, 2012.
It would also afford the members the opportunity to consider and adopt a number of other Instruments currently before the House. The idea for the emergency sitting was mooted by the Business Committee of the House, chaired by the Majority Leader and member for Zebilla, Cletus ApulAvoka.
“Rt. Hon. Speaker, as Hon. Members are already aware, a number of Instruments are currently before the House. This has imposed constitutional obligations on Parliament. To enable the House discharge the said obligations, the Business Committee recommends to your good self to consider recalling Parliament for emergency sittings at an appropriate time, preferably from the 3rd to 27thof September, 2012,” Mr. Avoka noted in the Business Statement presented to the House yesterday.
According to the statement, the House was expected to commence its Third Meeting on Tuesday, October 16, 2012, as scheduled, and be adjourned on Friday, November 2, 2012, having gone on recess yesterday.
However, due to the aforementioned problem, the Business Committee had no choice than to shift the goal posts in recommending an emergency meeting, in order to meet the 21 sitting days mandated by law for the C.I.73to automatically mature into a legal document for use by the Electoral Commission.
With this recommendation, the Honourable Members would have to cut short their holidays in order to make do with time in considering the C.I.73 and other Instruments before the House. That means the Consolidated Fund of the country would also have to be stretched to pay for the extra sitting allowance of the members of the legislature.
The Representation of the People (Parliamentary Constituencies) Instrument 2012 (C.I.73) was laid in the House on July 17, 2012 by the Majority Leader on behalf of the Electoral Commission, but was subsequently withdrawn on August 15, 2012, the very day it was due to mature into a legal document, having exhausted the 21 sitting days mandated by law.
This was in view of numerous errors, omissions and misplacement of Electoral areas sighted by the Subsidiary Legislation Commission, the body mandated to consider the document and report to the House.
The committee had argued that the current state of the C.I.73 (old version) was going to result in a myriad of legal challenges, conflicts and the disenfranchisement of registered voters, and potentially disturb the peace of the electoral process and the nation, hence,the recommendation to annul it.
With this, the Majority Leader, on Wednesday, August 15, 2012, sought leave of the House to withdraw the original C.I.73, and replace with a new one, correcting the errors, omissions and misplacement of existing Electoral Areas for consideration.
The corrected version also requires another 21 sitting days to mature into a legal document. With the completion of the emergency sitting, the members would have about two weeks holidays,following which they are expected in the House to commence the Third Meeting, from October 16 to November 2, 2012.
They are, again, expected to reconvene on Monday, December 17, 2012, after the General Elections, to wind up on their mandate before dissolution.
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