The Electoral Commission (EC) has apologized to political parties constituting the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC), for the late notice issued for Wednesday’s meeting.
The Commission says it is particularly sorry that the main opposition National Democratic Congress could not make it to the meeting.
The NDC boycotted the meeting, saying they were not properly invited.
The party’s General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah said in an interview the party felt disrespected by the manner in which the meeting was convened.
But in an interview, the Commission’s Communications Director, Eric Kofi Dzakpasu, said the NDC had not been targeted.
“The meeting was sort of an emergency meeting and that is why we had to give the invite out on a Monday. Tuesday being a holiday, some could not get the hard copy so we followed up with the SMS text and emails to alert them that we will be having a meeting. NDC has not officially communicated to us why they could not attend the meeting anyway, but we would have wished all the parties were represented.”
“When I said the other parties were represented, it is not as if they were very comfortable with the arrangement. They raised this concern that the notice was too short, they could not prepare, but we also explained the time constraints relative to our activities and also apologized that moving forward, things will be done properly as we do it. We would have wished that they had come to raise their concerns then we explain and apologize as we did with others. As the main opposition party, it took some bit of shine. It is rather unfortunate they are not around and we apologize.”
The IPAC meeting saw discussions on the referendum on the creation of six new regions and voter registration exercise.
Mr. Asiedu Nketia had stated that he expected better due diligence for a meeting of such importance.
“We were invited with two different documents; one being a text message giving us less than 24 house to attend an emergency IPAC meeting without any agenda.”
“As the meeting was going on or as the meeting was about to start, 45 minutes to 1:00 pm, which was the scheduled time for the meeting, we were now given an invitation letter to another meeting which was not described as an emergency any longer,” he recounted.
He complained that the invitation process was “improper” and that the NDC would have been unable to prepare for such a meeting in just 45 minutes.
The NDC executive further described the EC’s actions as either deliberate or an act of incompetence.
The commission, which is already in the NDC’s bad books, blew its opportunity for a good first impression, Mr. Asiedu Nketia indicated.
The NDC has already criticised the appointment of the EC Chairperson, Jean Mensa, whom they have accused of bias because of a misunderstanding the party had with her institution, the Institute of Economic Affairs, prior to the 2016 presidential debate.
“…it is unfortunate that the first opportunity for the reconstituted electoral commission to make a good impression about themselves, about their competence and other things has resulted in this disastrous move.”
Though Mr. Asiedu Nketia said the NDC would abide by the outcomes of the meeting, he added that his party has essentially been compelled by the EC’s dictates.
“We don’t feel bound by such decisions… If we are complying it’s because they [Electoral Commission] have the power to do it. But we are not complying because we were part of the decision,” he stressed.
Conclusions of IPAC meeting
The EC set December 27, 2018, for the referendum on the creation of six new regions.
Before this, the Commission will embark on a series of activities including the registration of new and continuous voters, the exhibition of the voters’ register, as well as processes for the transfer of votes and or the grant of proxy votes.