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Heavy security as EC holds IPAC meeting on voter registration exercise

There was heavy security presence at the Electoral Commission (EC) Headquarters in Accra yesterday during an Inter party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting held over the new voter register.

Dozens of armed police personnel were positioned at the precinct of the commission while three Formed Police Unit (FPU) vehicles and other police pick-ups were parked at the entrance.

They were at the venue to avert any possible disruption of the meeting, but the Ghanaian Times did not observe any major incident during the two separate meetings as at 1:40 pm when the news team was leaving the venue.

Convened by the EC to update the political parties and other stakeholders on the registration exercise next month, the meeting, was held in two batches; one in the morning and the other in the afternoon.

The format was for want of space for social distance in keeping with COVID-19 safety protocols.

The compilation exercise, which has been opposed by some political parties and Civil Society Organisations, including the National Democratic Congress (NDC), was initially scheduled for April but was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Present at the morning session were representatives of parties including John Boadu, the General Secretary of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Akua Donkor, founder and leader of Ghana Freedom Party (GFP).

 Also in attendance were Akwasi Addai Odike, founder and leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP) and the Director of Elections for the Convention People’s Party (CPP), James Kwabena Bomfeh Jnr (Kabila).

Jacob Osei Yeboah, an independent presidential candidate participated likewise Dr Kwesi Jonah, a Senior Research Fellow of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG).

The NDC, the largest opposition party in the country, boycotted the meeting as earlier announced by its Deputy General Secretary, Peter Boamah Otokunor, over the two-streams of the IPAC meeting.

According to him, the ‘double-track’ system adopted by the commission did not constitute a proper IPAC meeting and that suggestions and decision making would be problematic.

The opposition to the format of the meeting set the stage for brief moment of drama at the beginning of the morning meeting when the National Organiser of People’s National Convention (PNC), Mr Desmond Twumasi Ntow walked out over what he described as disrespect for his party.

According to him, he had written to the EC to register his party’s disagreement over the decision to hold the meeting is two streams but it did not receive a response from the Commission.

In his attempt to find out why his party’s letter was ignored, he said deputy EC Commissioner, Dr Bossman Asare queried why he was at the venue if his party did not agree to the format of the meeting and this infuriated him to walk out.

“I only came to ask why our letter was not replied to. Was it because they did not respect our party? So [Dr Asare] asked me why am I then here, so I walked out”, he said, and reiterated his party’s opposition to the new voter register.

BY JONATHAN DONKOR

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