The largest opposition political party in Ghana, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) says it has notice with concern a communiqué issued by the Electoral Commission after the Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting held on Wednesday, 27th March, 2019.
According to the General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, at the meeting under reference, the EC presented for discussion its programmed activities for 2019. “While the press release issued by EC covers aspects of the ensuing discussions we note that there are portions that do not represent the true reflection of what transpired at the IPAC meeting”.
In a letter issued and signed by the General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah called on the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Jean Mensa to withdrawal the deceptive IPAC communiqué.
Some portions of the letter states, “We take particular notice of a portion of the EC press release which states as follows”:-
“The Commission will compile a new voter’s register ahead of the 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections “We wish to state emphatically and without any fear of contradiction, that no decision was taken on this matter. In fact, the compilation of a new voters register was only mentioned in passing by the EC during discussion on limited registration. There certainly was no “extensive deliberations “ on this particular matter.
The absurdity of such a claim is ample evident from the Commission’s own Statement, which captured the agenda for discussion as follows:
*Preparations for the 2019 District Level Elections
*Inspection of Political Party Offices
*Updates on the compliance of the Political Parties with Audit requirements
The compilation of a new voters register was not one of the items on the agenda for discussion, thus cannot warrant a basis for any decision by the political parties. A careful analysis of the subsequent points in the statement, specifically, point 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6, shows that all the issues raised were clearly in sync with the items on the agenda.
It is self-evident, and judging from the flow of the Press Release and its relationship with the agenda above, that item 3 is totally incongruous to the real issues discussed at the meeting, let alone any purported decision be made on the subject.
The NDC holds the view that, a matter as important as the compilation of a new voters register, has to be discussed in a manner that will ensure that every aspect and the implication of its implementation are thoroughly discussed to the satisfaction of all stake holders and in accordance with due process, time tested rules, procedures and conventions before a decision is made. A matter as delicate as such has to be discussed thoroughly and all the related consequences, ramifications considered before arriving at a decision.
A decision of this nature has grave bearing on the credibility and integrity of our Elections and therefore has to be tabled properly as part of an IPAC Agenda, discussed exhaustively with all relevant stakeholders, before the EC can communicate such a MAJOR DECISION taken at an IPAC meeting to the general public. No such matter was tabled as part of the agenda, nor was it discussed, either exhaustively or thoroughly as the EC has sought to portray in their communique.
Curiously the communique was signed by only the Chairperson of the Commission instead of the representatives of the various political parties. Can the EC explain why this is so? The NDC therefore disassociates itself from the communique and demands it’s withdrawal as it is not in consonance with conclusions of the IPAC meeting.
It may interest you to note that, there were decisions taken which did not find space in the communique. One such decisions was for the EC to decentralize the limited registration exercise to the Electoral Area level in accordance with the time tested practice in all limited registration exercises since the beginning of the fourth Republic.
The NDC cautions the EC to be mindful of its core mandate to act as a credible impartial referee in the country’s electoral processes and to play by the rule books.