Two of the commissioners at the Electoral Commission (EC) who were in the news recently over the holding regular meetings have clashed once again.
The recent clash has reinforced public perception that all is not well at the EC since the commissioners, who are supposed to steer the affairs of the institution appear to be sharply divided.
One of the seven commissioners, Ebenezer Aggrey-Fynn wrote a memo to the EC Chairperson, Mrs. Charlotte Osei requesting for a commissioners’ meeting under the EC Act 1993, and in the process accused the Commissioner of running a ‘one man’ show and failing to carry along the other commissioners.
In the memo of February 16, Mr Aggrey-Fynn revealed that the commissioners had not held a single meeting for about a year in clear breach of the EC Act which makes it mandatory for the commission to meet at least every two months and no discretion is given.
Mrs Osei gave a sarcastic response, accusing Mr. Aggrey-Fynn and his colleagues of working to undermine her.
She said the agenda of the memo sent by Mr. Aggrey-Fynn was “vague” and “was insufficient to form a basis of an agenda for a commission meeting.”
She said at the time the memos were written, there was an EOCO investigation into the commission’s staff Endowment Fund, as well as another EOCO investigation into the allegations contained in the petition sent to the presidency for her removal.
“The same petition has been presented to His Excellency the President and at the time your memo suggested the need for a Commission Meeting, the petition had been forwarded by His Excellency the President to Her Ladyship the Chief Justice for judicial inquiry.”
Serious Crisis Awaits
However, Mr. Aggrey-Fynn has shot back at the EC boss in another memo written on March 26, this time tackling the reasons given by the chairperson for not holding meetings.
He even told Charlotte Osei in the memo that “going on the trajectory you have chosen as chairman, the commission is likely to put the country into a serious crisis someday.”
Mr Aggrey-Fynn was of the view that the EC boss had failed to summon commissioners’ meetings in flagrant violation of the law because Charlotte Osei believes that four out of the seven commissioners are conspiring against her.
“Please be true to yourself, the reason for not calling commission meeting is your belief that four of the commissioners are against you and are working towards your removal, as alleged on a tape making the rounds in the public domain,” he said, adding “that you cannot have your way at meetings because the ‘majority’ of the commissioners are against you.”
According to Mr Aggrey-Fynn, in the memo he offered what he called ‘friendly advice’ to the other commissioners when the secret audio recordings came to his attention.
“To have firm proof of this conspiracy, the EC boss should call a commission meeting, and if there is a conspiracy, this will come out.”
“If the meeting degenerates, you can then complain or petition the appointing authority on this matter. I had to write to make a demand on you to fulfill your obligations, when this attempt failed. You are bent on not calling a commission meeting even in flagrant violation of the law.”
He said that although Mrs. Osei and two other commissioners are facing impeachment process before a judicial committee, which is time-consuming, “the commission can still meet to satisfy the law.”
“You have three days in the week to call a meeting and seven days, if you consider the fact that the committee adjourns each day in the afternoon for which you go to the office to work.”
He claimed in the memo that the EC Boss ‘unilaterally cancelled’ the production of the commission’s annual diary, which he said was a very useful corporate tool, which was in existence long before Mrs. Osei was appointed a commissioner.
“Your definition of the role of the commission is a poor attempt to redefine the role of the commission to suit your intentions and to justify certain actions of yours which have been called into question,” he fired.
Mr Aggrey-Fynn said Mrs. Charlotte Osei contradicted herself in her response to his earlier memo, saying “on one breath, commission meeting or role has not been activated because there are no matters requiring the commission’s ‘policy direction’ and in another you stated that the ongoing impeachment processes make it difficult for the commission to meet. Please help me understand your reason for not calling a meeting which is a statute requirement and legally mandated provision under the Act that established the commission.
“Show a little respect to fellow commissioners since, it will go a long way in enhancing a cordial ‘corporate’ environment necessary for achieving the ‘corporate ends’ for which the commission was set up,” he added.