By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Folks, we are still waiting to hear from President Mahama who will head the Electoral Commission when Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan retires (His 70th birthday falls June 18 and staff of the EC have already held a befitting durbar to honour him.).
We have so far heard loud noises of protestation from the NPP camp about the replacement and from so-called academics and others doing politics disguised as civil or social work. The clergy haven't left themselves out either. So have our traditional rulers.
In all the public utterances, only the mainstream NPP members (be they the bigwigs or activists of any hue) have issued warnings here and there on who should be the next EC Chair, behaving as if they are already certain on who their choice should be and what they will do in protest if their expectations are not met. They are behaving as if they wield the clout. I laugh them to scorn.
A so-called journalist has also rushed to the Supreme Court, asking it to divest President Mahama of the constitutional prerogative of appointing the EC Chair in consultation with the Council of State. His suit is ridiculous in its intents and purposes, creating the misguided impression that it is rather the Council of State and not the President of the Republic of Ghana that has the prerogative to choose the EC Chair. This kind of warped reasoning is laughable too.
Then comes Dr. Richard Amoako-Baah whose effusions aimed at boosting the NPP's electoral fortune rather end up exposing him and the party to public scorn. We know him for his anti-Mahama stance.
In the latest of his series of inane public comments on Ghana's democracy, he is reported to have has urged President Mahama and members of the Council of State not to replace Dr. Afari-Gyan with any of his deputies. His reason?
"... due to the disappointing performance of officials of the electoral commission in the 2012 elections, which he said was fraught with errors, none of his deputies deserves to be given the nod to replace Afari-Gyan".
He is also reported to have said that “I hope a new person comes in and I hope we get a new person and we don’t get somebody already with the Commission because every institution has a culture and if Afari-Gyan and his deputies have been there for a long time it is not likely they are going to depart too far away from the way he did things.
“I think somebody from outside should be brought in with new ideas, new foresight, imagination and peculiar ways of solving the electoral problems of Ghana.” (See http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=362821)
(a) "...The disappointing performance of officials of the electoral commission in the 2012 elections..."
The disappointing performance of officials of the electoral commission in the 2012 elections? Is this man really worth his career as a political thinker? Where was he when Dr. Afari Gyan and his team organized Elections 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008? Did he see any fault at such elections?
Citing Election 2012 as the basis for his outright damnation of Dr. Afari Gyan and his team is so hollow as to make me wonder how this Amoako-Baah really thinks. It also reveals his prejudiced and jaundiced NPP stance, which tells me how he is chafing and losing sleep at the outcome of Election 2012, which is likely to be repeated at Election 2016 because the NPP has changed for the better to warrant its being preferred by the electorate. Can he not see how that political house of cards is falling on itself?
(b) "... every institution has a culture and if Afari-Gyan and his deputies have been there for a long time it is not likely they are going to depart too far away from the way he did things..."
Does this Amoako-Baah not know that the organizational culture of the institution is not shaped and shaved by the head of that organization and his team alone and that the organization itself is controlled by the constitutional provisions establishing it and detailing its responsibilities? That the culture prevailing at the EC is the making of the 1992 Constitution?
Or that all human beings constituting the livewire of that institution bring their experiences together to shape the culture of the institution? Or that the culture of the EC isn't the making of its EC Chair alone? Or that the human beings working in the EC cannot overnight change the culture of the institution just to serve the purposes of a particular political party? Warped thinking again on Amoako-Baah's part.
(c) "... I think somebody from outside should be brought in with new ideas, new foresight, imagination and peculiar ways of solving the electoral problems of Ghana..."
Will that "somebody from outside" work alone or with subordinates duly appointed to serve the country at the EC? Or will that "somebody from outside" be a dictator who will know more than everybody else does about how the EC should function? Or will that "somebody from outside" claim to be more Ghanaian than everybody else to do miraculous things to boost Ghana's democracy?
Again, Amoako-Baah has failed to know that team-work is what the EC needs, not the whims and caprices of any individual at the helm of its affairs. The EC operates within the ambit of the 1992 Constitution, which clearly stipulates its responsibilities. Be it a Constitutional Instrument or a Legislative Instrument to facilitate its work, the EC functions as prescribed by the Constitution. It doesn't really need a "One-man-show" type of administration to serve Ghana's interests.
Let me say at this point that much of what is coming from these desperate NPP politicians and their apologists in academia, the clergy, chieftaincy institution, or anywhere else, easily betrays their desperation. No matter what they think and say, when it comes to the crunch, President Mahama will appoint whoever comes up as capable of steering the affairs of the EC. If they don't like it, they can dive into the Atlantic Ocean and end it all there. Ghana will move on without them.
On another note, what will they do if President Mahama decides to retain Dr. Afari Gyan while still looking around for his replacement? Use it as evidence to support their claim that both are colluding to the NDC's advantage? Take to the streets? Vandalize anything in sight? Acid-bath Dr. Afari Gyan too?
What kind of desperation is making these NPP people so "mad"? To me, the real issue is not the EC Chair but the kind of political outreach that the NPP is expected to do to prevail over the electorate. With all the transparency that we see guiding the electoral process (especially before, during, and after voting when the ballots are openly counted and the results tallied and announced), any fixation on the EC Chair is misplaced. Elections are won at the polls, not in the closet of the EC Chair!!
The emphasis should rather be on how to do politics to win over the electorate. I don't think that the NPP people know what to do, which is why they are wasting time and energy diverting attention. They are really pitiable at this stage.
I am surprised that this Dr. Amoako-Baah and his NPP cohorts are not asking for the Deputies at the EC to be replaced with new ones so the existing culture at the EC will vanish with them when Dr. Afari Gyan leaves. In that sense, then, we will have a new team at the EC (the Chair and Deputies) for a new culture to be cultivated to suit him and his NPP cabal.
I shall return…
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