The former chairman of Ghana’s Electoral Commission, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan has underscored the importance of Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) in enhancing political parties participation in electoral processes to ensure fair and credible election in the country.

The largest opposition National Democratic Congress, NDC, totally withdrew from IPAC in 2021 after a series of boycotts prior to the 2020 general election accusing the  Jean Mensah led Electoral Commission 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 interactions between it and the public prior to the 2020 elections.

However speaking on the topic of Free and Fair election at 3rd Annual Lawyers Conference of NDC Lawyers Association in Akosombo in the Eastern Region on Friday, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan stated IPAC is the single most importance forum that ensure Political parties participation in electoral processes and decisions for inputs to enhance free and fair elections.

The longest-serving former chairman of Ghana’s Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Afari Gyan therefore advised that IPAC be made effective again as Ghana prepares for another crucial election.

“Under Ghana’s Electoral system, there are many opportunities for political parties to participate in Electoral processes in was that promotes free and fair election. Of singular importance is the inter party advisory committee (IPAC).The IPAC makes is possible for political parties to know and make inputs to the important thing the electoral commission is doing at any point in time”.

Dr. Afari Gyan added “It makes it possible to discuss concerns of the parties and makes it possible to contribute to the making of subsidiary legislation. Indeed in some, the IPAC is the forum for stakeholder dialogue towards achieving common ownership of the electoral system”.

He also urged government to provide the needed financial resources to the EC so that the commission does not “cut corners” in any of the electoral activities.

However, a former Director of Election, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, says the Electoral Commissioner Jean Mensah is unrepentant in her posturing and bias considering its decision to still go ahead to conduct limited registration at the district level instead of electoral areas which will potentially disenfranchised many qualified voters.

He called on well-meaning Ghanaians to speak up on the conduct to the EC to avert consequences especially when the geopolitical environment of West Africa has become vulnerable for political instability.

“On countless occasions we made what we considered to be valuable inputs. Sometimes supported by the other side. I can cite so many cases for example the last registration exercise before 2020 election. We are going into an election can we consider to go back only for the EC to display such behavior to other minority parties. The very reasons we left they have been fed with same medicine”.

He said the NDC is not the problem in the impasse but the EC. 

“The problem is not us. The problem is the attitude, stance and Posturing of the Electoral Commission. Why do we go to IPAC? We go to IPAC so that we can make inputs. It doesn’t mean that whatever we say should be taken hook line and sinker. There is history of IPAC, suggestions are made, it  is shaped it is agreed and disagreed but we reach consensus this has been the tradition since 1993. What is it about this current EC that they will not take any input irrespective of how sanguine it is “Elvis Afriyie Ankrah  lamented.

Source: Ghana/ Ansah