Former Deputy EC Chairman calls for IPAC, other electoral reforms


A former Deputy Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), has called for restructuring of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC), to make it more useful in the conduct of better elections in the future.
He said IPAC meetings, where all the political parties meet to discuss matters relating to elections in the country had lost its verve and become "normal formal meetings".
IPAC is made up of representatives of all registered political parties and the EC. It includes Regional Inter-Party Advisory Committees and District Inter-Party Advisory Committees.

IPAC’s main function is to deliberate, share ideas and proffer advice on electoral matters.

"My understanding of IPAC when we formulated it in the late '90s was for it to be an interactive forum for us to properly and exhaustively discuss [electoral issues]", said Mr Kanga.

But in recent times, the parties primarily disagree and trade accusations at IPAC meetings.

The former Deputy EC Chairman has also advocated for a more rigorous interviewing process in the selection of presiding officers during elections.

This suggestion follows a recommendation by Justice William Atuguba, the President of the panel of judges which presided over the election petition case, for the EC to improve on the caliber of persons it appoints as presiding officers.

He further counseled the EC to ensure that all returning officers who make unpardonable mistakes during election are not re-hired for any other election.

This is among other recommendations the Supreme Court judge made in his ruling on the election petition which challenged the validity John Mahama's election but was dismissed.

Mr Kanga told Citi News that the interview process for presiding officers could be intensified by “perhaps, allowing civil society and maybe the political parties to have a representation; not to participate but a representation on the panel that interview and appoint the returning officers.”

“Some of the problems we have emanated from the fact that some of them have been there for too long and are beginning to think that it is their farm and they will always be available to go to farm”, Mr Kanga said.

He said reforms to Ghana's electoral process, however, must be done cautiously.

"If we are talking about reforms, are we going to be able to do something and use them at the district level elections or are we going to be...talking about reforms for 2016? For me if we are going to implement a reform, it is best...to implement the reform for an election that is not high profile", he said.

He added that when reforms are implemented for low profile elections, no serious problems will arise when errors occur.

He, however, noted that some of the reforms to the country's electoral process would have to go through a referendum.

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