The Electoral Commission (EC) on Wednesday met representatives of some political parties in the first Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting since Mrs Jean Mensa became the Chairperson of the electoral body on August 1, this year.
The closed-door meeting, the Daily Graphic learnt, was used by the EC to interact with the political parties and also brief them on the commission’s upcoming programmes.
According to sources, Mrs Mensa was out of the country and was, therefore, not present at the meeting, but her two deputies, Mr Bossman Asare and Mr Samuel Tettey, were present.
Political parties represented at the meeting included the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), the Democratic People’s Party (DPP) and the Ghana Freedom Party (GFP).
Some of the representatives of the parties who were seen at the EC headquarters for the meeting were Mr John Boadu, the General Secretary of the NPP; Mr Peter Mac Manu, a former National Chairman of the NPP, and Mr O.B. Amoah, the NPP MP for Akuapem South, all representing the NPP; Nii Allotey Brew Hammond, the National Chairman of the PPP, and Mr T. D. Ward-Brew, the Founder and Leader of the DPP.
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Others were Mr James Kwabena Bomfeh, representing the CPP, and Madam Akua Donkor, the Founder of the GFP.
The biggest opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), was, however, missing in action.
Its National Organiser, Mr Kofi Adams, explained that the party was absent because it received the invitation to the meeting very late.
In an interview, he said the NDC received the invitation at 12:14 p.m., while the meeting was slated for 1 p.m.
“The invitation was not just late; we received it on the day of the meeting. This was not an emergency meeting for us to be invited through an emergency process,’’ he said.
The EC has, meanwhile, apologised for the late invitation, explaining that the problem had to do with time constraints.
“It is rather unfortunate that the invitation was late. This was because of the time pressure on the EC. The EC has faced many challenges and if we miss a day or two, it is likely to affect our programmes,’’ the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the commission, Mr Kofi Dzakpazu, said.
In an interview with the media after the meeting, some of the political party representatives said the main agenda at the meeting was the referendum that the EC would organise for the creation of new regions.
The EC is expected to organise the referendum on November 27, 2018.
Some of the programmes outlined for the referendum are a limited registration exercise that will be done from September 16 to 25 and the laying of a Constitutional Instrument (CI) which will give legal backing to the referendum before Parliament.
The referendum will be held in only the proposed areas where the Justice Stephen A. Brobbey Commission recommended for the creation of new regions.
Mr Mac-Manu described the mood at the meeting as “very cordial and friendly”.
“The EC told us that there was the need to register people who had turned 18 in the proposed new regions to enable them to vote in the referendum.
“It was a good meeting; we exchanged greetings and went through the normal routine,’’ he said.
For Mr Ward-Brew, the meeting was very fruitful and an opportunity for the EC to inform the political parties about its activities for the rest of the year.
Mr Bomfeh said the IPAC meeting was an avenue for the EC and the political parties to further deepen their collaboration.
“We made meaningful suggestions, such as how the EC could increase its engagement with the parties and other stakeholders,’’ he said.
The IPAC meeting was one of the major activities carried out by the EC after Mrs Charlotte Osei and her two deputies — Mr Amadu Sulley and Mrs Georgina Opoku-Amankwa — had been removed from office on June 28, 2018 by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo based on the recommendations of the committee set up by the Chief Justice over allegations of corruption and misconduct levelled against the three by some workers of the EC.