By Bernice Bessey .
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has threatened to boycott meeting called by the Electoral Commission (EC) if it continues to invite it at short notice.
According to the party’s National Chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, the party is not comfortable with the EC’s mode of invitations to meetings, and that they are political parties, therefore, deserve to be given some respect, since they all have their programmes to run.
This, he said, the party takes serious exception to, adding, “I have served on IPAC for over 15 years, and I want to place this on record that if the EC decides to invites us under 24 hours, we will refuse to attend their IPAC, because this is becoming one too many.”
“For the Electoral Commission to continuously invite us under 24 hours is unacceptable. Because this invitation; I was somewhere when my General Secretary called me that a letter has come late in the evening, and I asked some of my colleagues, and they said they had their invitation this morning,” he added.
Mr Ofosu Ampofo was expressing his sentiment at the inauguration of the Representation of the People’s Amendment Act (ROPAA) Working Committee, yesterday, in Accra.
To him, he and the other political parties represented at the inauguration ceremony had cause to complain, because the last time it happened that the NDC was invited under 12 hours, for which reason they could not attend, however, the EC went ahead to implement its decisions without recourse to the party.
Nevertheless, the Commissioner of the EC, Jean Mensah, in response, explained that the invitation delayed because the Commission thought it wise to have all the members of the committee present as it was being inaugurated, but some of them were out of the jurisdiction.
She, however, promised that from next year, the Commission will make available a timetable for the IPAC, in order to avoid the a repeat of the incident, and added that they felt it was important to inaugurate the committee early, so that at the beginning of next year they can hit the ground running.
Mrs Mensah, inaugurating the committee, mentioned Dr. Eric Bossman Asare (Dept Chair EC) as Chairman, Ms. Adwoa Abrefa Asuama (Commission Member), Mr. Christian Owusu-Parry (EC), Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor representing NDC, and Mr. John Boadu, General Secretary for the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) as members.
Other members include Dr. Kojo Asante with the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Prof. Ransford Gyampo (University of Ghana) and Rev. Dr. Ernest Adu Gyamfi National Peace Council.
However, the minority parties without representation in Parliament are yet to chose a representative on the committee to add up to the number.
The Committee is expected to start work in January 2019, and per its activities, is supposed to meet with civil society groups from January 21st to February 1st, 2019, as well as meet the political parties from February 11 to 15, and religious and traditional authorities, February 25th to 1st March.
The media engagement will take place from March 11 to 30, and the team is also expected to visit Mali, South Africa, Britain, and the United States from April 1 to 30, 2019.
The committee would then present its report and recommendations to the commission on May 31st next year. A technical group will be constituted to draft regulations for external voting, which would eventually be passed into a constitutional instrument by Parliament.
“The fact that efforts to implement ROPAA would face challenges along the line is not lost on the Commission. We are, however, firm in the conviction that we would enjoy the cooperation and support of all stakeholders, and Ghanaians generally, to achieve a successful implementation of ROPAA,” she stated.