The People’s National Convention (PNC) has said it agrees with the view of former Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, that any attempt to split the EC into two bodies must be done with well-defined roles and responsibilities to ensure a highly efficient organisation.
The General Secretary of the PNC, Ms Janet Nabla, said the call for the EC to be split into two —one to be in charge of elections and the other to be in charge of political parties regulation — was in order as that would enhance the efficiency of the commission.
She said the only challenge was, if the latter's decision would be binding on the former, and cautioned that “their roles must be clearly defined by institutionalising appropriate regulations”.
Ms Nabla was reacting to the former EC Chairman’s views expressed on a proposal to reform the EC.
Dr Afari-Gyan, in a statement detailing his views on some reforms in Ghana's electoral system, disagreed with a proposal to make the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) a statutory body, with its functions backed by law.
According to him, changing the IPAC from a mechanism through which political parties offered suggestions to the EC to a body whose functions were backed by law would interfere with the independence of the EC, as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution.
Dr Afari-Gyan, who was instrumental in the formation of the IPAC, said: “The Constitution clearly says that in doing its work, the EC should not take instructions from any person or body external to the commission. The IPAC is such a body. Accordingly, IPAC decisions cannot be binding on the EC. If they were, it would, in effect, amount to nothing less than meddling with the independence of the commission.”
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has proposed that the EC be divided into two separate bodies — one regulating political parties, to be known as the Office for the Regulation of Political Parties (ORPP), and the other conducting and supervising public elections.
While agreeing with Dr Afari Gyan, Ms Nabla argued that the EC was an independent body set up by and entrenched in our constitution, and that no individual or a body should interfere in its activities.
“Should we give the IPAC the power to dictate for the EC, wouldn't it amount to interference in the work of the EC?” she asked.
The PNC said it was only appropriate for the EC to respect IPAC in its posturing and ensure consensus on issues other than pushing its decision down the throat of the political parties.
The PNC also said Dr Afari-Gyan’s admission that the EC should be made a party in all electoral disputes and be made to produce all public elections related materials and documents relevant to presidential and parliamentary elections was worthy of note.
“We believe, if accepted, it would increase transparency and fast- track the resolution of election disputes in the country,” she said.
On the issues related to the role of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) in ensuring equal representation on its political programmes, the PNC said the Supreme Court’s ruling on the matter must be followed through and should any staff of GBC be found to be favouring a particular party, the said individual should be personally held liable and be punished accordingly.
The PNC commended the former chairman of the EC for bringing his wealth of experience to bear on the discourse, describing his recent comments on the NDC’s proposal for electoral reforms as welcoming.
Ms Nabla said the PNC would encourage other individuals and civil society organisations that were into election-related issues to do the same in order to further enhance Ghana’s election processes.