Opinions of Mon, 16 Nov 20150

GBA, What Happened to Your Apau and Pwamang Suit?

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Garden City, New York

Oct. 2, 2015

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net

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The decision by the leaders of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) to caution Electoral Commissioner Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei and her staff against any hasty attempt to compromise the credibility of Ghana’s Voters’ Register, could not have come at a more opportune moment (See “Ghana Bar Association Cautions EC Against Hasty Decisions on Electoral Poll” MyJoyOnline.com / Ghanaweb.com 10/1/15). So far, however, Mrs. Osei appears to be treading cautiously. And it is quite certain that our new Electoral Commissioner fully appreciates the devastating consequence that any attempt, either wittingly or unwittingly, to compromise the integrity of the country’s electoral process would have for the peace and stability of the country.

That Mrs. Osei fully appreciates the centrality of our national voters’ register in the lead-up to Election 2016, is evinced by her decision to invite information-technology experts across the country and political divides to facilitate an acceptable sanitization of the entire electoral process, and not just the integrity of the voters’ register. Whatever the ultimate decisions taken by the EC Chief and her staff are likely to be well informed and thoroughly devoid of any tendentious political coloration. If that happens, such decisions are likely to be accepted by all the major players involved. It would also likely involve the expert and credible input of foreign experts outside the West African sub-region, and even the African continent as a whole. Our recent experiences with the way that elections are done on the continent and, in particular, the response of the judiciary to the same have not been very respectable. Which is not to either say or imply that elections are conducted any remarkably perfectly in the most advanced of constitutional democracies.

What is clear, however, is the fact that both in terms of quality and credibility, the electoral cultures of the West still have a lot to offer those of us still at the teething stages of multi-party democratic praxis. At this stage, however, I am not inclined towards commenting extensively on the concern expressed by the EC Chair vis-à-vis the picketing activities of the political pressure group called Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA). I am quite certain that the leadership of the LMVCA fully appreciates the imperative need not to conduct themselves in ways that may unsavorily open them up to charges of electoral criminality. At the same time, I am highly enthused to know that they are exerting the sort of sociopolitical pressure needed to get the right things done.

On the part of the leadership of the Ghana Bar Association, I had expected to be hearing something worthwhile on its lawsuit against President Mahama, regarding the appointments of Justices Yaw Apau and Gabriel Pwamang to the Ghana Supreme Court, on the grounds that a long-established protocol involving the President of our august Republic and the Ghana Judicial Council had been flagrantly breached. Indeed, even as Mr. Sam Okudjeto, the distinguished former President of the GBA, noted at the time, some three or four months ago, the case looked to significantly enhance the way in which executive power was exercised for the long-term benefit of both Ghanaian democracy and leadership responsibility and accountability. I hope Nene Amegatcher and his associates have not given up on the inviolable need to holding the feet of Mr. Mahama and his executive associates to the proverbial fire of justice and fair play.

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