EC’s C’ttee Of Eminent Persons Hear Presentations From Political Parties, As IPAC Meeting Ends In Near-Blows
The Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting on the controversy over the compilation of a new voters’ register, yesterday ended in a deadlock.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia, reportedly told the media that his side was generally satisfied with the meeting and noted that the Advisory Committee was set to officially offer advice to the Commission.
“The committee of eminent persons assured that they have heard all the presentations. They believe that each side has made very reasonable contributions so they are going to formulate their advice and then present it to the Electoral Commission with input on everything that has been said here.”
NDC national chairman, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, also stressed that no consensus had been formed on the controversy.
“This meeting was indeed inconclusive in terms of accepting the technical capabilities of the proposals the Electoral Commission is bringing,” he explained.Speaking as part of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) delegation, the Deputy Local Government Minister, Osei Bonsu Amoah, also indicated that the meeting ended in a stalemate.
“We couldn’t have concluded because we came with different positions,” he noted.
But Mr. Amoah said his side expected the EC to go ahead and compile the new register.
“The point has been made that the EC is independent enough. The EC cannot be controlled by any person except what the Constitution provides. If this is the way they want to go and funding has been provided, the best thing is to reason with them, look at some aspects and if we think they can alter [the process], they listen to us and do so.”
Meanwhile, there were reports of an exchange of blows between some representatives of some political parties at the meeting yesterday.
According to Deputy NDC General Secretary, Peter Boamah Otokunor, it took the intervention of one of the Eminent Advisory members, Archbishop Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, to stop leader of Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG), Kofi Apaloo and the General Secretary of All People’s Congress (APC), Mordechai Thiombiano Lompo, from further throwing punches at each other.
“There were exchange of blows; the leader of the LPG had to carry a chair [and] by the timely intervention of Archbishop Palmer-Buckle, there would have been bloodshed,” Otokunor told JoyNews Correspondent, Kwesi Parker-Wilson.
It was the disagreement about the time given to political parties following the Committee’s decision not to allow representatives from civil society organisations to comment on the presentations made by the technical officers from the EC, the NDC Deputy General Secretary added.
Otokunor said police had to call for reinforcement to bring the situation under control.
Earlier, General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, told journalists that after listening to various presentations from both the EC and the political parties, particularly those opposed to the decision to compile a new voter’s register, the Eminent Advisory Committee announced that they were going to formulate their advice and present it back to the EC.
The NDC National Chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, also claimed none of the issues during the presentations, “spoke against the data that the electoral commission has” which supports their position that, the current register as well as the current Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) system, are not as bad as the EC has suggested.
“So we’ll say that this meeting indeed was inconclusive in terms of accepting the technical capability of the proposal that the electoral commission is bringing towards any attempt to get a new register,” Ofosu Ampofo said.
Recall thatthe Eminent Advisory Committee called the meeting following rising tension between opposition NDC-led Inter-party Resistance Against the New Voter’s Register on one hand and the EC on the other hand, following the latter’s decision to compile a new voters’ register for the 2020 elections.
This followed the series of protests held in Tamale and Kumasi in the Northern and Ashanti Regions, by the opposition parties and some CSOs against a fresh electoral roll.
The group after the protest march in Kumasi, announced a suspension of their actions over what it said was in respect of the Eminent Advisory Committee and a show of immense regard to His Eminence Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Ashantihene, who has requested for calm as they mediate the impasse.”
The coalition have, however, accused the EC of bad faith after Director of Elections at the EC, Dr Serebour Quaicoe announced a date for the commencement of registration for the new register.