By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
June 27, 2015
This is an appointment that would have been readily entrusted to a New Patriotic Party-led President, if the key players of Ghana's main opposition party had wisely collaborated for the better and greater interests of the party and the nation at large. Instead, the movers and shakers of the NPP decided to put factional infighting above and ahead of everything else. And so, predictably, while the nauseatingly complacent canine was busy chomping on the bone of reckless contention, the much slower but more savvy tortoise deliberately ambled across the finish line.
Trust me, from the present look of things, it could happen again, particularly if the top-echelon members of the NPP do not quickly and wisely close ranks and work assiduously towards Victory 2016. We shall have ample time between now and December 2016, Divine Providence Willing, to discuss the historic appointment of Mrs. Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei as Ghana's new Electoral Commission Chairperson or Electoral Commissioner. That she is the first woman to be appointed to this high-profile and most sensitive job, ought to be unreservedly lauded. It definitely adds a boost to the feminist credentials of President John Dramani Mahama. But, of course, that is not the point of Mrs. Osei's appointment.
Anyway, here is a brief disclosure: I am not very certain of this, but I have a strong feeling that Mrs. Osei may be related to the late Mr. Atta-Kesson, from the Wassa area of the Western Region, a notable lawyer who was a parliamentary majority leader in the Limann-led shortlived democratically elected government of the People's National Party (PNP). If so, then Charlotte Osei may also be related to my PERSCO classmate, Mr. Richard Atta-Kesson, of whom I learned quite awhile back, is a very successful lawyer in Accra. If my observation has validity, then I confess my unreserved pride in the great achievement of my good friend's relative. If not, then at least I have the equal pleasure of observing that Mrs. Charlotte Osei well appears to me to be eminently qualified for the job in ways that could not be said of her immediate predecessor, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan.
That until her latest appointment, Mrs. Osei served as Head of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), makes her all the more logical candidate and appointee for the job of Ghana's Electoral Commissioner. We shall have time to discuss the relationship between the two hand-in-glove institutions. But for now, our primary concern regards the widespread allegation and outcry that the new EC Chair is deeply embedded in the ideological camp of the National Democratic Congress, and thus is apt to play the same biased role of which Dr. Afari-Gyan was rabidly accused of playng on behalf of Messrs. Rawlings, Atta-Mills and Mahama. Well, we have to be forward-looking and mature enough to be willing to give Mrs. Osei the benefit of the doubt.
So far, nobody has accused the Ghanaian-, South African- and Canadian-educated legal and administration expert of professional incompetence and/or corruption, which is all well and good; which is also why the jaded paranoia coming largely from the quarters of the New Patriotic Party may be aptly envisaged to be unwarranted. There can be no gainsaying that the country's Electoral Commissioners, like all executive appointees, are not appointed from outside the geopolitical confines of Ghana. Besides, there is no constitutional stipulation that any person appointed EC Chair has absolutely no right to belong to either of the two major political parties, for that matter.
Then also, the 1992 Republican Constitution affords President Mahama the executive privilege of appointing the EC Chair. That mandate, of course, comes from Article 70(2) of the Constitution. Article 91(3) only admonishes the President to act on his EC appointment with the informed counsel of the Council-of-State, but it also clearly empowers the Chief-Executive-of-State to summarily discount/ignore such counsel at his own discretion. And so I find Mr. Afenyo Markins' lawsuit to be rather frivolous and devoid of merit, and one that ought not to have been countenanced by the Supreme Court.
Ultimately, the New Patriotic Party's chances of victory at Election 2016, pretty much like Election 2012, squarely depends on how determined and vigilant polling agents of the Elephant Party are willing to make every vote cast in their favor count. The preceding are, of course, not my words; rather, they are the telling testmonal words of Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, the cross-dressing General-Secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress. And Nana Akufo-Addo's associates and minions had better take note.