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Politics of Thursday, 20 May 2021

Source: 3news.com

NDC boycotted EC’s forum because even our smiles anger Jean Mensa – Otokunor

Deputy General Secretary of NDC, Peter Boamah Otokunor Deputy General Secretary of NDC, Peter Boamah Otokunor

Deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Peter Boamah Otokunor, has said his party boycotted the two-day forum organized by the Electoral Commission (EC) because they have issues with the credibility of the Chair and the two deputies.

He said that the Chair of the Commission, Jean Mensa and her two deputies have not treated the NDC fairly in previous meetings hence, their decision to stay away from the forum.

“First of all, we are questioning the credibility of current Electoral Commission led by Jean Mensa and the two deputies. We are questioning their credibility."

“We believe that they do not hold that independence as is expected of an electoral management body."

“The second point is that the current IPAC as it stands with its current disposition and the disposition of the leaders of IPAC which is the EC chair persons and the deputies is something that we must look at and find a proper position of IPAC, come up with clear procedures of handling meetings , when we smile at IPAC the EC chair will be angry and they can talk to you anyhow, you can’t smile at IPAC, you can’t make your point at IPAC when you descend on a position of the electoral commission. That must stop now,” he told Accra based Joy FM.

He further rejected a proposal made by Jean Mensa to close polls at 3PM.

He said the time to close polls in Ghana’s elections since 1992 has not been an issue for the political parties. Mr Otokunor said there are other pressing reforms that the EC must embarked on, not this one.

The EC chair has proposed for the stipulated time for the closure of polls to be moved forward from 5pm to 3pm in future elections.

According to Mensa, the proposal when implemented would ensure adequate time provision for the counting, and collation of ballot papers.

She revealed the initiative was to take effect in the 2020 general elections but was put on hold as a result of COVID-19.

“We propose closing the polls at 3pm rather than 5pm. In 2019, we announced our decision to close the polls at 3pm rather than 5pm, in the 2020 Elections. Nonetheless, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the stringent, and necessarily time-consuming safety protocols we instituted at our polling stations, we were compelled to put this proposal on hold.

“Over the past months, however, this proposal has re-surfaced from various sections of the public, and indeed, our own experience from the 2020 Elections has revealed that it is a workable proposal, as by 1pm, most polling stations were empty, suggesting that this is a workable proposal. Therefore, this is a reform we intend to put forward,” Mensa said at a two-day retreat for political parties and other stakeholders, an event which was boycotted by the NDC.

Asked for his reaction on this proposal, Mr Otokunor said “Unfortunately, I will not be able to contribute to that because we (NDC) are working on key reforms.

“But on the face of it, it beats my imagination that this is a worry for the electoral commission. There are major challenges with our electoral systems and closing polls early is not something that we should be worrying ourselves about.”

“If you look at the system that we have been running from 1992, early poll closing has not been a challenge. The results coming and the time as they are declared has not been in contention in any of our elections. So I think that this is something that should be ignored.

“There are key issues and we are going to engage the public on some of the major things require attention,” he said.

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