"NDC Has Decided To Boycott IPAC Temporarily Due To Bastardization By EC" - Elvis Afriyie Ankrah
The Director of Elections for the opposition, National Democratic Congress (NDC), Elvis Afriyie Ankrah has explained that the party has decided to boycott IPAC temporarily due to the bastardization of that revered body by the Jean Mensah/Bossman Asare-led Electoral Commission.
According to him, the framers of the 1992 Constitution in their wisdom created the Electoral Commission as an independent institution to perform its constitutional functions without the control of any person or group of persons.
Addressing Journalists in Accra on Thursday, he said "The independence given to the EC under the 1992 Constitution is based on the presumption that the Electoral Commission will at all times perform its duties conscientiously in the ultimate interest of Ghana. However, this does not mean that the Commission is not accountable to the people and can therefore decide to act whimsically or capriciously in ways that undermine our democratic experiment"
He added that the Jean Mensa-led Electoral Commission has misinterpreted the independence to mean arrogance and non-accountability.
The Director of Elections further noted that it is sad that the Supreme Court of the country endorsed such irresponsible conduct of the EC and allowed them to get away with the embarrassment they caused the country in the 2020 general elections.
He noted that one unique convention of Ghana’s electoral system which has become an international best practice is the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) adding that the rationale for IPAC, is to create a platform for consensus-building on major issues affecting elections with key stakeholders involved in elections.
"Over the years, IPAC has served Ghana well as a platform where ideas are shared on various issues before the EC takes substantive decisions on critical electoral matters. Indeed, to promote transparency in our electoral process, IPAC has been involved in the drafting of Constitutional Instruments on elections as well as procurement processes of the EC under previous Chairpersons. IPAC is supposed to serve as a platform where political parties participate in all electoral activities throughout the electoral cycle, such as, voter registration, an exhibition of the voter's register, printing of ballot papers, observing the voting process at all polling stations through polling agents as well as collation of results at both the constituency and national levels"
Mr. Ankrah stressed that since the June 2018 ouster of the chairperson of the Electoral Commission and her two (2) deputies and their subsequent replacement with Jean Mensa and Bossman Asare, all these best practices have been thrown to the dogs.
"The current leadership of the Electoral Commission has turned IPAC from a consultative and consensus building platform to an information sharing platform where the EC only comes to impose its decisions on IPAC without room for meaningful deliberations and exchange of ideas. It became so bad to the point that the EC even announced publicly that IPAC had agreed to the decision to compile a new register for the 2020 elections when the issue of a new register had not even been discussed at the said meeting"
"Ladies and Gentlemen, the Jean Mensa-led EC appears to be in a world of its own. The Commission appears to be tickling itself and laughing. The Electoral Commission has for the first time in our history conducted elections that leaves doubts on the mind of Ghanaians and other observers on the credibility of the elections. The Commission declared wrong results and even after issuing an unsigned press release to subsequently correct same, the figures still do not add up. Instead of taking advantage of the election petition to clear itself of the mess caused, the EC failed to mount the witness box to testify and explain to Ghanaians how it arrived at its results"
He hinted that the issues coupled with the non-equitable voting arrangement at IPAC meetings are the reason the NDC has taken a principled position to boycott IPAC until the right changes are effected to ensure fair and meaningful deliberations at IPAC.
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Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith