The President, Nana Akufo-Addo is expected to name some persons to fill vacancies at the Electoral Commission following the impeachment of Charlotte Osei, a former Chairperson of the Commission and her two deputies from office.
Some five names before the President according to sources includes Emmanuel Akwetey, Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance, IDEG, H. Kwesi Prempeh, Executive Director of the Centre for Democratic Development, CDD, and Kathleen Addy, Deputy Head of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE).
The two other names are Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, a criminal law professor, and Jean Mensa, Executive Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).
President is keen on replacing the first female EC boss with another female.
Early on, Sophia Adenyira, a Justice of the Supreme Court was also rumoured to be likely to be named.
In the case of Justice Adenyira, political watchers argue that the rumoured if confirmed would constitute some form of demotion in view of the fact that the position of the EC choir was at par with the status of a court of appeal judge.
The EC staff petitioned the President accusing Charlotte Osei of supervising bad corporate governance.
The petition which was forwarded to the Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo as required by law eventually led to her impeachment.
President Akufo-Addo on June 28, 2018, removed the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Charlotte Osei and her two deputies – Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwa from office upon the recommendation of a committee set up by the Chief Justice, to investigate separate complaints brought by some Ghanaian citizens.
Charlotte Osei was accused of various procurement breaches, whilst the deputies were also found guilty of same offenses as well as financial malfeasance.
Although government spokespersons have justified the move, some members of the opposition have challenged it, saying Madam Charlotte Osei, who was appointed by then President John Mahama, was only hounded out to enable the NPP rig the election in 2020.
The Editor-in-Chief of the Crusading Guide Newspaper, Mr. Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, has sued government over the dismissal of Charlotte Osei.
In a writ invoking the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court for the interpretation of the Constitution, Mr. Kwaku Baako argued that the Chief Justice Committee which investigated petitions for the removal of the EC Boss exceeded its constitutional mandate.
He thus asked the Supreme Court to pronounce the removal inconsequential.
His suit came after another Ghanaian, Fafali Nyonator, also sued the Attorney General against the removal of Charlotte Osei.
But Godfred Dame, a Deputy Attorney General in an interview on Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana, said the appointment of a new EC chair will commence regardless of the legal lawsuits.
“I do not see any constraint or whatsoever, and the Supreme Court of Ghana has had ample opportunity to pronounce on what a public officer or authority can do in such circumstance. And one fundamental principle is that the courts are slow to restraining the exercise of a constitutional power. So in principle, the courts of Ghana will encourage the exercise of a constitutional power. And I think in this situation there is imperative for the exercise of such a constitutional power,” he explained.
Mr. Dame again said it is imperative for the president to fast-track the process in order not to bring the work of the EC to a halt over the absence of a Chairperson.
“…We have an Electoral Commission which has various functions to perform as to the number of elections to prepare for. Conduct of an election is not an event, it is a process that commences with a lot of indoor measures and mechanisms put in place by the EC, before they actually engage in the process of voter registration among others.”
“I think in the interest of the nation and the interest of ensuring that there is no unnecessary hiccup or hold back to the operations of the EC, and to the extent that there is no legal impediment, legal impediment in his way from appointing a new chairperson of the electoral commission, yes, the president can go ahead and appoint a chairperson of the electoral commission together with two deputy chairpersons,” he added.
By: The Publisher