EC Chairpersonship is not popularity contest

Fri, 27 Jul 2018 Source: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

I am too angry to get annoyed with those opposition party politicians and political activists and commentators who have all of a sudden come to the quaint realization that the nomination and appointment of the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), and her/his associates, ought to be broadened to include the scrutiny of the Parliamentary “Sitting-Allowance Notorious” Appointments Committee as well as the leaders of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the country, in a way that has never been the case before in the 26 years of Ghana’s Fourth-Republican democratic culture (See “Amend Constitution for Parliament to Vet EC Chair Nominees – Majority Leader” MyJoyOnline.com / Modernghana.com 7/26/18).

I am too angry to be annoyed because for more than 20 years, we sat mum while only one man was given a blank check to literally fiddle with the political destiny of this country, and we all behaved as if everything was hunky-dory. After all, who among those impugning the political impartiality of Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa to be nominated as the next Electoral Commission’s Chairperson did not know that Dr. KwadwoAfari-Gyan, the first Chairperson of the EC in the country’s Fourth Republic was an unabashed Leftist partisan, a fanatical Nkrumaist and a fellow trucker with the operatives of the National Democratic Congress? And did we not go through the same kangaroo process some three years ago, when our parliamentarians allowed then-President John Dramani Mahama to ride roughshod over our Sovereign and constitutional rights by handpicking Mrs. Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei from her statutorily protected job as Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), who then proceeded to take the law into her own hands and her marching orders on how to interpret and operationalize our electoral laws not from the Wood-presided Supreme Court of Ghana, but from Nigeria’s former EC’s Chair, to wit, Prof. AttahiruJega, with the knavish and cold-calculated and downright criminal complicity of then-President Mahama?

And now, we are being told with wistful regret by the Parliamentary Majority Leader, who also doubles as the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and the New Patriotic Party’s Member of Parliament for Kumasi-Suame, to wit, Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, that, indeed, Mrs. Osei’s appointment as Chairperson of Ghana’s Electoral Commission may well have been the most egregious faux-pas, to speak much less about a criminal violation of the Constitution, to have been committed by any sitting, or substantive, President of Fourth-Republican Ghana.

And just how was this most embarrassing blunder arrived at? Well, according to Mr. Mensah-Bonsu, the man who appointed Mrs. Osei as Ghana’s Electoral Commissioner and his advisers, including the Mahama-constituted Council-of-State, had not performed the requisite due diligence. Else, they would have arrived at the sobering and quite curious and suspicious and most unimpeachable conclusion that the nominee was patently unqualified, for the simple reason that the patriotism of Mrs. Osei could at best be described as nebulous and the worst decidedly untrustworthy. I personally don’t buy into the biographical data upon which the Parliamentary Majority Leader appears to have predicated his judgment, but I sincerely believe that such data is darn worth examining.

And it is the fact that, even as Mr. Mensah-Bonsu pontifically tells it, Mrs. Osei’s biological mother is/was a full-blooded Nigerian and her father half-Ghanaian and half-Sierra Leonean. Well, the last time that I checked, the recently elected Liberian President, Mr. George Oppong-Weah (I hope I have his name spelled out correctly) was born of a Ghanaian father – Or perhaps a half-Ghanaian father? – and a Liberian mother. So, going by the logic of Ghana’s Parliamentary Majority Leader, full-blooded Liberians have quite a lot to worry about. To be certain, nobody seems to be really skeptical about the country of birth or nationality of Ghana’s ousted EC Chair, except for the unmistakable implication by Mr. Mensah-Bonsu that Mrs. Osei’s roots may not be deeply entrenched in the soils of the country well enough to have warranted her appointment as Chief-Director of the political destiny and Sovereignty of bona fide Ghanaian citizens.

Well, the quaint irony here is that it was bona fide Ghanaians like Mr. Mensah-Bonsu who consented to the radical revision of Ghana’s hitherto standard, albeit military proscribed, constitutions that emphatically stipulated the imperative need for both parents and grandparents of any Candidate for the Presidency to have been born and brought up in Ghana. Dear Reader, if I may humbly ask: Precisely how much more Ghanaian is former President Jerry John Rawlings, compared to Mrs. Charlotte Osei, for just one ready example?

You see, my opposition to the latter’s EC chairpersonship was always exclusively based on its constitutional legality and her own publicly demonstrated administrative competence or the woeful lack thereof. It now scandalously appears that I have all along been looking at the wrongful indices; and that the movers-and-shakers of our country have other more curious reasons that may have little or absolutely nothing to do with the officially accepted data upon which we had been made to believe her appointment as EC’s Chairperson had been based. God save us from ourselves! #W’Allah-hi-hi!

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs

Columnist: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
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