A Deputy General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress, Peter Boamah Otokunor, has intimated that the action taken by the advisory body set up by the Electoral Commission to assist it in its work has exposed the incompetence of the Commissioners at the helm of affairs.
The Eminent Advisory Committee made up of religious leaders, representatives of Civil Society Organisation and distinguished Ghanaians, numbering about 21 in total and led by former CHRAJ boss, Emile Short, has invited all political parties to the table to deliberate on the proposal by the EC to compile a new voters’ register.
The Committee noted that stakeholders at the dialogue sessions will evaluate the arguments of the political parties and use the opportunity to scrutinise the EC’s proposals to arrive at a consensus ahead of the 2020 general election.
The EC, following a meeting with the Eminent Advisory Committee, has resolved to dialogue and build consensus with the various stakeholders, particularly the political parties, a move it had failed to make earlier.
Peter Boamah Otokunor believes the decision by the EC to agree to engage the political parties and other stakeholders “is a standard operating procedure” which should have been undertaken long ago and didn’t require the intervention of the advisory body.
In his view, this lack of tact and inability to follow through basic electoral practices “exposes the incompetence of the Jean-Mensah led Electoral Commission.”
“This was long overdue and I think that the standard operating procedure for introduction of register and electoral reforms has been to do an extensive discussion at IPAC. But unfortunately, we do not know why the EC will consider IPAC as irrelevant, as nonexistent and disregard us and disrespect us only for the committee of eminent advisors to come and say go back to the table and do discussions.
“I think this exposes them badly, it shows how incompetent they are. Elsewhere they would have resigned from their jobs and be staying at home by now,” he intimated.
Nonetheless, Peter Otokunor welcomed the decision and expressed the NDC’s preparedness to partake in the discussions scheduled for Monday, January 20.
It was his hope that the discussions will be a roadmap to withdraw the decision to compile new voters register adding that “we welcome any news to drop the idea of compiling a new voter register.”
“We have been very committed to dialogue from the beginning and as you may recall, from the early stage we have been demanding for dialogue on this matter, we have been demanding for consensus.
“But if they have woken up from their sleep and they think that consensus building is very very important and there is a need for everybody to be heard on whether we need a voters register or not, I think that it is welcoming news. But what we will say is that we demand that by all means this register is dropped and we hope that when we meet during the discussions the reason that never found space in the decision of the Electoral Commission will now find space in the decision finally to drop the register,” he advanced.
In the meantime, however, the NDC’s Deputy General Secretary noted that it will not back down on its planned demonstrations against the compilation of the register until the decision is rescinded.
“Whiles at it, we will continue to embark on our public manifestation to drive home the need to as a matter of urgency drop this needless expedition taking 833m of the taxpayers’ money on this new register when we do not need and we do not have any use for such a new register,” he said.