IPAC promotes fair, credible elections — Dr Afari-Gyan
The former Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, has emphasised the importance of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) in enhancing political parties’ participation in electoral processes to ensure fair and credible elections.
He has, therefore, called for the revival of IPAC to enhance political parties’ participation in the electoral processes ahead of the crucial 2024 Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
Dr Afari- Gyan was speaking on the topic “Free and Fair Election” at the third Annual Lawyers Conference of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Lawyers Association in Akosombo in the Eastern Region last Friday.
The former Chairman of the EC, therefore, used the platform to call on the NDC to return to the IPAC immediately.
He explained that was because it was the forum the party could use to achieve the free and fair elections it seeks in the 2024 presidential and parliamentary elections.
The largest opposition party, the NDC, totally withdrew from IPAC in 2021 after a series of boycotts before the 2020 general election, accusing the Chairperson of the EC, Jean Mensa, of open bias and refusal to listen to suggestions and inputs made by the NDC at IPAC meetings.
With the seeming breakdown of the IPAC, the EC, in 2019, launched a 21-member Eminent Advisory Committee (EAC) to enhance engagement and interaction between it and the public before the 2020 elections.
The former EC Chairman further said IPAC was the single most important forum that ensured political parties’ participation in electoral processes and decisions for inputs to enhance free and fair elections.
“Under Ghana’s Electoral system, there are many opportunities for political parties to participate in Electoral processes that promote free and fair elections,” Dr Afari-Gyan advised.
He, therefore, suggested the need for IPAC to be made effective again as the nation prepared for another crucial election.
Dr Afari-Gyan also urged the government to provide the needed financial resources to the EC so that the commission does not “cut corners” in any of the electoral activities.
A former Director of Elections of the NDC, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, also said it was unfortunate that the current EC Chairperson, Mrs Mensa, still went ahead with the decision to conduct limited registration at the district level instead of electoral areas, which would potentially disenfranchise many qualified voters.
He called on well-meaning Ghanaians to speak up on the matter to ensure that the EC averts the consequences of its action, especially when the geopolitical environment of West Africa had become vulnerable to political instability.
The concept of IPAC was conceived by the Commission based on experiences gained from the 1992 general elections.
The EC came under intense criticism, especially from political opposition parties, ranging from the electoral process to the conduct of the polls.
IPAC was, therefore, formed in March 1994 to bring together representatives of the political parties and members of the EC every month to discuss and try to build a consensus on electoral issues.