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Opinions Wed, 26 Jul 2017

Is Charlotte Osei unfit to be Electoral Commissioner?

This week, some workers of the Electoral Commission of Ghana has petitioned the President to remove the Chairperson of the commission Mrs. Charlotte Osei. According to their lawyer, it is alleged that:

Mrs. Osei breached the Procurement Law in securing goods and services. She is a one-woman show because she solely contracted the services of attorneys with disgruntle parties and their leaders.

The EC Boss repeal a current contract with Super Tech Ltd. (STL). She solely renegotiates and paid the contract at a sum certain of $21,999,592 without thoughtfully considering the tender process.

The Lawyer to the petitioners Maxwell Opoku Agyeman said, “The chairperson, Mrs. Charlotte Osei unilaterally awarded a contract of about $25,000 to a South African company Quazar Limited to change and re-develop the Commission’s Logo under the guise of rebranding without going through tender contrary to the Public Procurement Act.”

The petitioners claim, “The chairperson has submitted an estimate of over 1 million for the renovation of the official bungalow for the Chairperson without recourse to the Commission or the appropriate staff in the commission.”

Mrs. Osei compromised her position and the independence of the Commission by attending cabinet meetings during President Mahama administration.

She ordered for 2015 Land Cruiser with registration number WR 2291-15 from the president’s office for her office use, etc.

This is a summary of the main allegations and some other charges against Mrs. Charlette Osei.

First, these are alleged claims which must be investigated to find out whether it is true or false.

If they are true, is it sufficient reasons to impeach the Electoral Commissioner? And if they are false, are those who filed this petition still going to maintain their job after defaming Mrs. Charlotte Osei? There is one thing we can conclude based on these allegations, and that is the Electoral Commission needs to step up. We should not forget that politics may involve in this charges against Mrs. Charlotte Osei since the previous administration appointed her.

In the midst of these allegations, we should not forget how this woman and her team work hard for a successful election last year. It was one of the best elections conducted by the commission. Also, the claim that her appointments to the commission are political is “everyday allegation” in Ghana.

Can we mention names of political individuals she appointed to the commission and remove them? What could have been different if the NPP government appointed the Electoral Commissioner last year? At least the way the Chief Justice was appointed shows that NPP could have done the same if they had the chance. Having said this, it is important to make sure we do not politicize our independent state institutions else it rather tends to serve the interest of political parties instead of the country.

It is fair to ask the following questions and see if she is guilty of them: Did the EC Chairwoman breach the constitution of Ghana?

Has she lost confidence by the people of Ghana? What evidence support that? Has the Court ruled that she is unfit to lead the EC?

Is the EC Chairwoman a danger to Ghana?

It is right to impeach the Electoral Commissioner or any government official if indeed there is sufficient evidence that she/he acted contrary to the Constitution of Ghana and that person worked against the will of the citizens.

If there is no credible proof of malfunction, and the majority of the voters do not support the removal of such public person from the office and the Court does not provide legal grounds for such impeachment, it makes no sense to take any officer from her/his office.

The essence of impeaching someone is to safeguard our country from corrupt leaders and to follow what the Constitution is saying, all things being equal. Anything contrary to this does not serve the interest of the country, the people, and the Constitution.

Columnist: Kwadwo T. Boakye