The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has declined an invitation by the Electoral Commission to attend an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting in Accra today, Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
The boycotted meeting was scheduled to principally discuss new developments in the proposed compilation of a new voter register by the election management body.
According to the opposition party, the arrangements made by the EC is not suitable for consensus building and is therefore not able to participate in the meeting.
The EC had requested that in line with the President’s social distancing directive to help control and contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting should be conducted in two folds. Eight parties including the governing NPP, NDC, CPP, and PPP would meet the EC first while the second batch including UPP, APC, PUP, and NDP come at a later time in the day.
Additionally, the EC directed that the number of representatives for various political parties for the meeting should be scaled down from three to one for the same reason, social distancing.
But that has not sat down too well with the largest opposition NDC.
In a letter to the EC dated March 24, 2020, and signed by its General Secretary, Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, the party called for an indefinite suspension of the meeting until the pandemic is over or find a suitable venue for the meeting.
“We take note of your new arrangements for parties to be represented by just one (1) person for the IPAC meeting and the arrangements that the same meeting will be divided into two groups, because of the directives of the President on social gathering following the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic.”
“We are unable to see how any meaningful meeting can be held to achieve consensus on any matter when all participants cannot sit together in the same meeting at the same time. The situation is even worse when the agreed representation of each party is reduced from three (3) to one (1),” the letter said.
They proposed that “the IPAC meetings must be suspended indefinitely in full compliance with the President’s directives.
“Or if the ECs activities have been classified as essential services and therefore exempted from the directives, then a bigger venue must be arranged for IPAC meetings, where all *three (3) representatives of each party will be present with the siting arrangements adequate enough to meet the social distance requirements as prescribed by the Presidents directives.”
“We shall count on your cooperation as we all endeavor to rally behind the President of the Republic on this collective fight against the COVID 19 global pandemic, the letter indicated.