The People’s National Convention (PNC) has confirmed that compilation of a new voters’ register for the 2020 general elections was not discussed at the last Inter-Party Advisory (IPAC) meeting.
According to the PNC’s National Organiser, Desmond Twumasi, who represented his party at Wednesday’s IPAC meeting, the decision to compile a new register was only mentioned in passing by Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Jean Mensa.
There was no further deliberation on the matter also because it was not part of the agenda for the day, Mr. Twum stated emphasisng, the decision was solely taken by the EC without soliciting the input of the political parties.
“The EC cannot say they are going to do something without discussing it with key stakeholders [parties],” the PNC organiser told Evans Mensah on Joy FM’s Top Story, Thursday.
The EC in a statement issued Wednesday signed by the EC Chair indicated that the decision to compile a new register was arrived at following a stakeholders meeting held under the aegis of IPAC earlier that day.
But the main opposition party, National Democratic Congress (NDC) in a statement issued Thursday and signed by its General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, said: “no decision was taken on this matter.”
Although the PNC is not opposed to having a new register for the next general elections in 2020, Mr. Twumasi insists that “the right thing needs to be done” by engaging the stakeholders before coming out with an announcement.
On his part, the Director of Elections for the NDC, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, questioned the basis for the EC’s decision to have a new register although he said the opposition party will not kick against it.
Mr. Afriyie Ankrah maintained, the EC ought to act in a manner that will engender confidence in the electoral process.
“The whole essence of the process is to have confidence in the entire process,” he added.
Therefore, the EC should “table it [the compilation of new register] properly so that we will discuss it and look at the ramifications and [then] we come out with a statement.”
“That is the right thing to do,” he said.
Defending the EC’s decision, Deputy Commissioner in charge of Finance and Administration, Dr. Bossman Asare admitted that although the Chair made the statement in passing, it formed part of the main agenda for the day, which had to do with the upcoming district level elections.
According to him, the decision sits with the existing practice since 1992, where the electoral roll is changed after it has been used twice.
“So when you look at it from that particular perspective, the Commission has come to the realisation that something must be done [to the register],” Dr. Asare explained.
The Deputy Commissioner, however, noted that despite the useful role they play in the country’s democratic process, IPAC is only an advisory body which must be viewed as such.
“If we at the Commission are convinced that there is a problem with the register, we will go ahead and do the right thing, that’s why we are here,” Dr. Bossman insisted adding, “some of the things that are very critical can be for their (IPAC) information.”