The General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has dismissed reports circulating in the media that the Electoral Commission (EC) has directed the opposition party to table its proposed electoral reforms before the Interparty Advisory Committee (IPAC) for dialogue.
Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express stated that the Commission has received the party’s electoral reforms and have given the assurance that the proposals will be thoroughly scrutinized.
Interacting with host, Aisha Ibrahim on Wednesday, he described the EC’s supposed directive as surprising while noting that such a report could only imply that either the media is fabricating its own stories or the EC is feeding the party one thing and the media another.
“They (EC) are the first people we sent the reforms to. All the others are copies we are giving to other stakeholders. So we have given it to Electoral Commission and they have responded. I get surprised at times about some responses I’m hearing in the media which are different from the response we received from the Electoral Commission. Either the media is creating responses for the Electoral Commission or the Electoral Commission is writing to us, saying one thing and granting interviews saying a different thing.
“They (EC) wrote to us. They acknowledged receipt of our reforms and thanked us and assured us they will be looking at those proposals. Then later we heard the media saying that the Electoral Commission says NDC should send the reforms to IPAC,” he said.
For him, media outlets running such reports are not fully abreast with happenings at the Electoral Commission.
This he said is because the Electoral Commission cannot be differentiated from IPAC.
“If you want to differentiate the Electoral Commission from IPAC, what are you talking about? IPAC is a meeting that is called by Electoral Commission and they set the agenda. So it is a document that they are in possession of and having read it and determined that it is worthy of some discussion, then they will call a meeting and put it on the agenda.
“So there is no difference between sending proposals to IPAC and sending proposals to Electoral Commission,” Mr Asiedu Nketia explained.
Although the National Democratic Congress rejected an invitation from the Electoral Commission to attend an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting to review the 2020 general election, Mr Asiedu Nketia holds the position that the EC is mandated by law to consider the party’s proposals.
“I think that there cannot be that type of parity of reasoning because we pay the EC. EC doesn’t pay us. So the Electoral Commission is a state institution and we are politicians, we are citizens and the institution has a responsibility towards all of us. I don’t think NDC has any responsibility towards Electoral Commission. So if you want to argue that type of parity, it doesn’t work that way,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, the NDC in its electoral reforms has suggested that Chairpersons of the Electoral Commission (EC) must be appointed after Parliament has approved their nominations.
The party opined that the mode of appointment is susceptible to partisan influences.
Currently, the appointment of the Chairperson of the EC is in accordance with the provisions of Article 70 (2) of the 1992 Constitution, which states that: “the President shall, acting on the advice of the Council of State, appoint the Chairman, Deputy Chairmen, and other members of the Electoral Commission.”
But according to the NDC, without parliamentary intervention, candidates appointed may not be qualified to meet the EC’s critical requirements which are; independence, neutrality, credibility, transparency and competence.
The proposal forms part of the over 30 recommendations for electoral reforms announced by the NDC.
Also, the opposition party wants the voting period of 7am to 5pm on election day to be maintained.
This is after the Electoral Commission suggested a 3pm closing time on election day.
Source | myjoyonline.com