President Nana Akufo-Addo has said he will appoint an apolitical person as replacement for dismissed-Chair of the Electoral Commission Mrs Charlotte Osei, as well as her two other deputies: Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwah.
Speaking publicly on the dismissal of the three commissioners of the election management body, for the first time on Saturday, 30 June 2018, at a town hall meeting with Ghanaians in Nouakchott, Mauritania, ahead of the conduct of the 31st AU Summit, the president said, as far as the replacement of the three is concerned, “We are not looking for persons who are coming to do a job for the NDC or for the NPP. We are looking for persons who are coming to do a job for Ghana. That is what we are looking for, for the Electoral Commission”.
The president stated that he had no choice but to act on the recommendations of the committee set up by the Chief Justice to investigate complaints against Mrs Osei and her two deputies, adding that he is duty-bound to uphold the teachings of the 1992 Constitution.
According to the president, whenever a petition for the removal of a high-ranking public official, like the Chairperson of the EC is forwarded to the president, all the president has to do, as is stipulated in the Constitution, is to refer the petition to the Chief Justice, for the determination of a prima facie case or otherwise.
Once a prima facie case is established, the Chief Justice, in accordance with Article 146(4) of the Constitution, must establish a Committee to investigate the complaints. The Committee, in turn will make its recommendations to the Chief Justice, who shall, then, forward it to the President.
The Committee, the President noted, was composed of a Supreme Court Judge, two High Court judges, and two persons, who are neither lawyers nor Members of Parliament, and who were appointed by the Chief Justice on the advice of the Council of State.
“They [Committee] have been working over the last 6 months, and recommended that the Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Charlotte Osei, and her two deputies, Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwah, be removed from office on the grounds of stated misbehaviour and incompetence,” the President said.
He continued, “Article 146(9) of the Constitution demands that I act on the recommendations of the committee. I have no power to disagree with the recommendations of the Committee, the Constitution does not give me that power. That is why I have removed the Chairperson of the EC and the two deputies.”
Reiterating his commitment to building a country governed by the rule of law, the President indicated that the laws governing our country must not be a respecter of persons.
“I, as President, am bound to respect the laws of our land. If I go against the laws of the country, I will be dealt with. Likewise, if you also go against the laws of the country, you must be dealt with. It is sad [the removal of the three EC Chair and deputies], but this is how it must be,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo stressed that the process that led to the removal of Mrs Osei and her two deputies “was not borne out of hatred, or a deliberate orchestration to remove some persons from their jobs.”
The petitioners, he added, are workers of the Electoral Commission and not faceless persons, as some would want Ghanaians to believe. The President also recounted the publicly documented spat between the three former EC commissioners.