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EC Bosses: To remove from office or not to remove from office

Pretty Charlotte Osei EC CHAIR EC Chair Charlotte Osei

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 Source: Yaw Gyampo

1. The seriously incriminating allegations and counter allegations made by the three EC bosses against themselves suggests to me that they are plagued with irreconcilable differences that makes it almost impossible for them to work together again. This would certainly have grave consequences for election administration in Ghana. Knowing this, we cannot sit unconcerned and sweep matters under the carpet as a nation.

2. The allegations of financial malfeasance, administrative lapses and other corrupting practices that suggests serious rot among the top echelons of the election management body, cannot be glossed over. Given the heightened interest in this matter, it may be palpably difficult for anyone guilty of these charges to keep his/her job

3. Ghana is a fledgling democracy and we have always chosen the path of rule of law and due processes. In this regard, I commend the President for for subjecting the decision to remove or not to remove, through due process of law.

4. I urge the NPP leaders to prevail upon the hawks within the party to be quiet in order not to further poison the political environment within which the due process is being carried out.

5. A bad thing is a good thing done at the wrong time. If the allegations are found to be true, and the punishment recommended is their removal from office, will the timing be right?

6. Following the appointment of the EC Boss, there were some top party functionaries of the NPP who openly said many unpalatable things about her, with some threatening to remove her from office when NPP wins power. Now that a process has been commenced against the EC Bosses, won't this suggest in some minds that this is a scheme to carry out the threat issued when Charlotte was appointed?

7. I don't believe what is happening is a simple scheme to carry out the threat issued. But if it is true, then we may be setting a bad precedent for ourselves as a nation in the sense that any new regime can find another EC boss guilty of any offense and also remove the person from office. No one is a saint and a police officer who really wants to arrest a taxi driver can always find a reason to arrest.

8. The polarized circumstances leading to the appointment of the current EC Boss, made her suffer huge legitimacy deficit. What helped her was the fact that the 2016 elections favored the NPP. Again, the fact that President Akufo Addo has always had kind words about her in all his public utterances since his election has also been helpful in image building.

7. If the current circumstances lead to the appointment of a new EC Boss for instance, public acceptance and legitimacy of the appointee may be low, just as it was when Charlotte was appointed.

8. We must strive to avoid situations where politicians would always have "good reasons" to determine who the referee should be in any election. Without tact and caution, we may plunge our nation into this quagmire.

9. The infantile and partisan argument of likening the removal of a CHRAJ Boss to that of the EC must cease. The NCCE, NMC, EC and CHRAJ are all independent constitutional bodies created by the 1992 constitution. But they are different bodies in terms of mandate and functions. Nations go to war more because of elections and less because of administrative injustices and corruption.

10. Now, should we gloss over the charges against the EC Bosses, even if they are true, simply because of the threat issued by some party functionaries when the NPP was in opposition? A thinkless partisan person may simply say YES or NO depending on where the person stands on the political divide. But all well-meaning people who view issues of national interest without partisan lenses would appreciate the fact that this may be a difficult question to answer. If you have a serious quarrel with a very sick "okyena mewu" person and you tell him "tw3n na wo be hu" and he dies the next day, it may be difficult for you to go scot free. But this isn't my answer. Indeed, for now, I don't have any answer to the question I posed because of the serious dilemma it imposes. But I can proffer some recommendations which may be helpful. They are articulated as follows:

A. Those NPP bigwigs and their followers who poisoned the environment by their prior comments and threats must be quiet now and allow the due processes initiated to work. Unfortunately some of them are still talking and defending the threats they issued. This is needless and must stop in order not to further politicize the process and deepen the polarization among the Ghanaian People.

B. The NDC people issuing threats of plunging the nation into chaos must desist from this bogus practice. The EC doesn't belong to them and again, they need not create an impression as if the EC Bosses were appointed to do the bidding of their party.

C. As we grow our democracy, all politicians must be measured and circumspect about what they say, particularly when in opposition. They must learn to say what they ran and mean what they really say.

D. The probing/investigation processes must be respected by all. The processes must be expeditiously carried out but in an open, fair and transparent manner so that final recommendations wouldn't be difficult to accept by all.

D. If (AND ONLY IF) it becomes necessary for us to have new EC heads, I would respectfully urge the President to follow the constitutional provisions but also go beyond the provisions and ensure broader consultations among identifiable groups within the body politic in a manner that leads to the selection of very experienced and highly qualified people whose standing and stature in society transcends partisan politics. Plato refers to such people as the Philosopher Kings. They exist, can be found and must be found.

NB: My friends in the media, I didn't want to comment on this issue because of your (some of you) penchant for churning out sensational headlines out of my harmless posts. Many people react to headlines and not stories. I have deliberately toned down my writeup to rid it off areas that may tempt you to be sensational. I respectfully urge you to look at the issues as they are for the education of all.

Many thanks and God bless.

Yaw Gyampo Prabiw Street A31, PAV Ansah Street Saltpond

Columnist: Yaw Gyampo
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