The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition the National Democratic Congress (NDC), have separately welcomed a decision by the Advisory Committee of the Electoral Commission (EC) to meet the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) over the new voters’ register.
This follows a call by the EC’s Eminent Advisory Committee on the various political parties to meet the IPAC to address concerns raised over the new register, which is being pushed at a cost of GHC400 million in an election year, when the political parties are supposed to be crisscrossing the country to woo voters with their messages.
The EC’s decision to compile a new voters’ register, has been met with stiff opposition from the NDC and some other political parties, and led to demonstration dubbed ‘Tikusayi’ demonstration which was staged last Saturday January 11, 2020, in Tamale to drum home their demands for the EC to call off its decision.
But both the NPP and the NDC, have since signaled their readiness to partake in discussions with the EC over issues bordering on the new register.
A total of eight opposition parties, including the NDC, are against the move, arguing time constraints and have vowed to use any means possible to have the EC abort the plan.
Calling themselves the Inter-Party Resistance Against New Voter Register, they even embarked on a massive demonstration with an assurance to stage such exercise in Kumasi and Accra in the coming days.
They insisted there was nothing wrong with the present register which brought the Akufo-Addo government to power in 2017, and had since been used for referendum on the regional demarcation, as well as the district assembly election.
Speaking on Eyewitness News on Wednesday, the Director of Elections for the NPP, Evans Nimako, welcomed the call for a meeting with IPAC, pledging to always play their part in supporting President Akufo-Addo.
“So yes they [the NDC] have their position but their position is not the law. This hypocrisy of the NDC cannot be contained. For us as NPP, we’ll keep on organising our party in a manner that will make it solid enough to support the Presidency of Nana Akufo-Addo. So they can do as many demonstrations as they want. We will honour any invitation by the EC to IPAC meetings. They had even told us way back in 2015 that if we have any concern we should come to IPAC and raise the issue,” he said.
The NPP, together with some twelve other political parties have also rallied behind the EC.
However, the EC’s Eminent Advisory Committee on Tuesday, January 15, 2020, called for calm, following the heated arguments characterising the election management body’s plan to compile a new voters’ register.
The Committee, according to a statement after a meeting with the EC, served notice to meet IPAC to iron out concerns raised over the new register.
The EC’s Eminent Advisory Committee, had earlier served notice to the various political parties to meet the IPAC to iron out concerns raised over the new register, while calling for calm amongst them.
“At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that the Electoral Commission and the Eminent Advisory Committee, will meet with members of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) to have further deliberations on the matter,” a statement signed by Emile Short, the Chairman of the Committee indicated.
Meanwhile, the NDC, has welcomed the decision by the EC’s Advisory Committee to meet IPAC.
Also speaking on Eyewitness News, General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, said that even though, they have not been officially notified with details of the meeting, they welcome the call, since it has been long overdue.
“The content is very reconciliatory. This is all that we have been urging all along because we think that these matters should not have come this far if the Electoral Commission had listened to us from the beginning. And we believe we have a strong case so it is in our interest that as many Ghanaians from whatever walk of life will like to listen, and they will be convinced so we welcome that call”.
Mr Asiedu Nketia, speaking on Eyewitness News, said even though they have not been officially notified with details of the meeting, they welcome the call, since it has been long overdue.
“The content is very reconciliatory. This is all that we have been urging all along because we think that these matters should not have come this far, if the Electoral Commission, had listened to us from the beginning. And we believe we have a strong case, so it is in our interest that as many Ghanaians from whatever walk of life will like to listen, and they will be convinced so we welcome that call”.
The General Secretary of the NDC, further indicated that the move by the advisory committee, did not come to them as a surprise, since they have been calling for such an engagement to take place for a while now.
“I want to believe that this is not the first time that the commission has acted in that way. In fact, we have been advising that this should have been the way to go because remember when there was a similar controversy during Charlotte Osei’s time, she empanelled a body of prominent persons like that to listen to the argument. They organised a public forum at Alisa hotel and then got our development partners and all stakeholders invited and then asked all media houses to carry it live so that every Ghanaian everywhere could follow the argument”.
Mr Asiedu Nketia, however, stated that they do not agree with the call for calm by the Advisory Committee to the EC, since the notice of a planned meeting did not mean that their issues were addressed already.
“As part of the letter, they called for all political parties to keep calm. I do not see any political party engaging in violence. We are pushing our argument through all legitimate means. We have not resorted to any illegitimate means and we think that our case must be heard and determined. If remaining calm means we must abort all our planned activities, that is premature. If we meet and there is a solution, then that will be the basis for us to abort all the other plans but meanwhile, our activities will continue. They have not told us when we will meet but when we meet, maybe there may be an agreement that may be satisfactory enough for us to use as a basis for us to use to abort our radio discussions and our public manifestations”.