President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Thursday, June 28 removed from office the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Charlotte Osei, and her two deputies, Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwah.
A statement signed by the Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid, indicated that the President acted on the recommendations of the committee set up by Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, in pursuant to Article 146 (4) of the Constitution.
The aftermath of the removal of the officers has been a politically polarized commentary especially in the case of the Chair, Charlotte Osei.
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) claims the act of “witch-hunting” is being orchestrated by the ruling New Patriotic Party to rig the 2020 elections.
The NPP, however, disagrees, stating it was a lawful process.
The President has noted that he had no option but to remove the commissioners because the law requires him to do so.
But how did we get here? Let’s walk through the events and how they evolved.
[July 19, 2017]The Petitions: “Faceless” staff of the Electoral Commission petitioned the President, Nana Akufo-Addo to impeach then EC boss Charlotte Osei.
The petition cited her in 27 allegations, some of which included incompetence, breach of procurement laws, lack of knowledge on corporate governance, corruption and compromise of commission’s independence.
Two other petitions were sent to the President seeking the removal of the deputy electoral commissioners: Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwah.
[July 19, 2017] Charlotte Osei demanded the identities of petitioners and threatened to sue for defamation: Charlotte Osei wrote to the lawyer of the “faceless” petitioners demanding the names and signatures of all the “Concern staff of the EC” who sought her impeachment.
[July 22, 2017] Charlotte Osei’s response and counter allegations: Charlotte Osei responded to each of the 27 allegations leveled against her explaining she did nothing wrong in each case and asked the petitioners to provide further particulars. She turned around to accuse her deputies of corruption, breach of procurement laws, and insubordination.
[July 25, 2017] Charlotte sues lawyer of petitioners: She further noted the petition was defamatory for which reason she would sue. Eventually, she dragged the lawyer for the petitioners to court.
[July 26, 2017] President receives petitions and refers them to the Chief Justice: The President received the petitions and referred same to the Chief Justice in accordance with Article 146(3).
[August 18, 2017] Another petition: Another petition from a private citizen was sent to the President to get the EC Chair out of office.
READ: Another petition filed to get Charlotte Osei out
[December 11, 2017] Prima facie case established: The Chief Justice upon receiving the petitions and perusing same established a prima facie case against the Chair of the Commission and her deputies. Out of 27 allegations, she was required to respond to six of them.
[December 11, 2017] Charlotte Osei writes to the President and the Chief Justice demanding a copy of petition: Charlotte Osei wrote to President Akufo-Addo and the Chief Justice to make available to her, a copy of the petition, which was the basis of her being probed.
[December 11, 2017] Charlotte Osei demanded clarity on the composition of committee: She wrote seeking clarification as to the composition and the terms of reference of the Committee and indicated her willingness to avail herself for investigation but said will not compromise on her constitutional and legal rights.
[December 19, 2017] Chief Justice set up a committee to investigate the matter and make recommendation: The Chief Justice commissioned a five-member committee to investigate the complaints brought before it and to make recommendation.
[June 28, 2018] President acts on recommendations: The President then acted on the recommendations of the committee in accordance with Article 146 (9) of the 1992 constitution to remove the Commissioner and her deputies.