The Electoral Commission has been asked to broaden its scope of engagement by bringing on board some critical stakeholders such as religious bodies and civil society groups to join the Inter Party Advisory Committee’s (IPAC) monthly meetings.
According to the National Association of the Charismatic and Christian Council (NACCC), allowing some critical stakeholders to join the IPAC meeting would go a long way to assist the commission to defuse the unhealthy tension that has characterised IPAC meetings.
The association made the suggestion when the leadership of EC, led by its Chairperson, Mrs Jean Mensa, paid a courtesy call on them as part of its ongoing nationwide stakeholders tour.
The meeting was attended by executive members of the NACCC led by its chairman, Archbishop Nicholas Duncan Williams, and commissioners of the EC including the two deputies – Dr Bossman Eric Asare and Mr Samuel Tettey.
The ongoing tour forms part of the EC’s electoral agenda to make known its election calendar to the public.
It is also to seek the support of the various stakeholders in the commission’s quest to deepen the country’s electoral process.
The discussion, that took place on the premises of the Action Chapel in Accra, centred on the various electoral reforms being rolled out at the commission and the EC’s engagement with political parties.
The two institutions discussed possible ways of working together to ensure that the various upcoming elections become successful.
One of the major issues that took centre stage at the meeting was the EC’s engagement with political parties.
The NACCC expressed concerns regarding the nature and manner in which the EC and political parties were handling issues at the IPAC level.
The association said the current tension between the EC and political parties was not good and that measures ought to be put in place to curtail it.
The NACCC contended that allowing religious bodies and some key stakeholders to be part of the monthly IPAC meetings would help calm tempers and also allow for smooth discussions between the parties and the EC.
The association said the situation where political parties resorted to the media to register their displeasure about their discussion with the EC was not the best way, considering the issues they put out.
It, therefore, urged the EC to consider the suggestion and bring on board other critical stakeholders to weather the storm that characterised IPAC meetings.
Mrs Mensa said the commission would discuss the proposal with the commissioners and other relevant bodies regarding bringing on board other critical stakeholders to join IPAC meetings.
She said the EC had used various platforms to deepen its engagement with political parties and that the IPAC meetings had been one of the modes.
Mrs Mensa said the commission was willing to find better ways to dialogue with political parties and that the EC’s goal was not to create any tension between the parties and the commission.
However, she said the commission would not allow political parties to use any means to force the EC to do anything that did not conform to the laws of the country.