The former chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan has disagreed with a proposal to make the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) a statutory body with its functions backed by law.
According to Dr Afari-Gyan, changing IPAC from a mechanism through which political parties offered suggestions to the EC to a body whose functions were backed by law would interfere with the independence of the EC, as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution.
Dr Afari-Gyan, who was instrumental in the formation of the IPAC, said: “The Constitution clearly says that in doing its work, the EC should not take instructions from any person or body external to the commission. The IPAC is such a body. Accordingly, IPAC decisions cannot be binding on the EC. If they were, it would, in effect, amount to nothing less than meddling with the independence of the commission.”
His views were contained in a statement he sent to the state-owned Daily Graphic detailing his views on some reforms in Ghana’s electoral system proposed by the largest opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
As part of their recommendations, the NDC proposed that the selection of the EC chairperson should be done by Parliament instead of an appointment from the President. The party also asked that the commission be divided into two with a responsibility of managing political parties and running elections.
Reacting to the recommendations of the NDC in an interview on Asaase Radio, Dr Serebour Quaicoe, the director of electoral service at the EC said: “What I can say is they have written officially to the commission and we have replied officially to them to table their requests at the IPAC meeting so that it will be a decision of IPAC and not a specific party.”
He added: “Monumental decisions like the ones proposed by the NDC can be agreed on and implemented only after there is a consensus on the proposals at the IPAC level.”
Touching on calls for the EC to take charge of security during elections, Dr Quaicoe emphasised that security during elections is not the responsibility of the EC, but the duty of the Ghana Police Service.
“Everybody has a role to play in an election. The IGP is supposed to provide security for elections. So ensuring security during elections is the role of the IGP and not the EC. The Electoral Commission just provides information to the police on when and where their services would be needed.”