General News of Friday, 31 January 2020
The Eminent Persons Advisory Committee of the Electoral Commission (EC) yesterday engaged with members of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC).
Although those on the opposing side maintained their positions and those in favour doing same, indications are that the EC will go ahead to compile a new voters’ register.
Expectedly, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) representatives put up a ‘fight’ in continuation of their opposition to the compilation.
Their opposing position was met with the strong stance of those supporting the replacement of the voters’ roll.
At the end of the meeting, the NDC representatives presented a picture which varied from their majority counterparts on the opposing side while speaking to the media.
NDC General Secretary Asiedu Nketia told the media that his team was satisfied with the engagement, adding that the advisory committee would officially offer counsel to the EC.
He said the eminent persons had given the assurance that having heard from all the sides and believing that all made reasonable presentations they would formulate their advice and present same to the EC.
On his part, the NDC Chairman Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo was cynical on the matter, insisting 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 said.
Speaking as part of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) delegation, the Deputy Local Government Minister, Osei Bonsu Amoah, said, “We couldn’t have concluded because we came with different positions.”
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,” he said.
“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 should listen to us and do so,” he added.
Security at the Coconut Groove Hotel in Accra, venue for the crucial meeting, was tight with police officers posted to the location. They were directed to admit only persons accredited for the meeting; the procedure involving the scanning of those entering the place.
It was a marathon session having started at about 10 am and ending close to 3 pm.
News hounds were busy scrounging for pieces of news from the meeting as the media was barred from covering.
The carefully arranged closed-door meeting lined up the important personalities as speakers, the Chairman of the Eminent Persons Advisory Committee of the EC, Justice Francis Emile Short; Mrs. Jean Mensa, Chairperson of the EC, and Dr. Yaw Ofori-Adjei, the EC Consultant on the voters’ register.
Presentations were also made by representatives of all the political parties on the IPAC as part of the elaborate process.
On the NPP team were party General Secretary John Boadu, Communications Director, Yaw Buaben Asamoa; OB Amoah, Deputy Local Government Minister, and National Organiser, Sammi Awuku.
Representing the opposition NDC were National Chairman Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia and National Communications Officer Sammy Gyamfi.
All the other parties were also represented.
There were representations from the civil society community but they were not allowed to make any presentation because they are not members of the IPAC as was observed.
The opposition NDC members who are leading a national opposition to the compilation of a new voters’ register, as earlier indicated, maintained their position.
Not even the presentation on the correctness of a new voters’ register by the EC IT specialist could alter their stance.
One remarkable feature of the EC’s presentation is that it won new hearts with People’s National Convention (PNC) Atik Mohammed even telling the media after the engagement that having listened to the commission, a new voters’ register is ‘non-negotiable’.
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