Opinions of Mon, 31 Jul 20175

Re: Raging row can derail EC timetable; appoint Acting Chair - Kwesi Jonah

“A senior research fellow at the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) says the call for the three Electoral Commissioners to step aside are in the best interest of the EC. Kwesi Jonah says IDEG’s calls were hinged on the operational continuity of the EC as it goes through the crisis” (Source: myjoyonline.com, Friday July 28, 2017).

The above source went further to report that Professor Kwesi Jonah made a call for the appointment of an acting chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC). I strongly disagree with the learned University of Ghana Political science professor.

Asking Charlotte Osei to step aside is not only unfortunate but equally risking setting a bad precedence.

Charlotte Osei as a law-abiding EC Chairperson acted on the directives of the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) to ask three of her workers to proceed on leave to pave ways for investigations into the EC Endowment Fund Scandal. The affected workers declined to comply with EOCO and Charlotte Osei’s orders.

“The Director of Finance at the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr Joseph Kwaku Asamoah, has indicated he will not proceed on leave as directed by the Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Charlotte Osei to pave way for investigations into the loss of monies in the EC staff Endowment Fund” (Source: ghanaweb.com, Thursday July 6, 2017).Is it not the same law that EOCO and Charlotte attempted to follow? Then came the so-called faceless petition against EC Boss. Do we need a soothsayer to tell us that the faceless petition was born out of frustration aggression principle/hypothesis? If her subordinates refused to step aside why must Charlotte step aside for an acting EC leader? What prevented the three EC officials from exonerating themselves before EOCO?

Professor Jonah, did EOCO write to Charlotte Osei or not? Is the EC Endowment Fund misappropriated or not? I think we must rather impress upon the three EC workers to comply with EOCO directives. It is not fair to appoint acting EC Chairperson and ask Charlotte Osei to step aside just because her attempt to follow through EOCO’s directives was saddled with equalization and acrimony.Operational continuity of the EC will rather slow down with the proposed appointment of acting EC chairperson since the appointee will have to undergo orientations. EC is a big institution with an office in each district and, also with the director in charge of elections who can assure Ghanaians that operational continuity of the commission will not be compromised despite the misunderstanding that has befallen the top hierarchy.

Equally important is the fact that evidence-based research reveals that when Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) approach is adopted in resolving organizational conflict, it speeds up the resolution process. ADR is friendly in terms of organizational conflict processing efficiencies (Bingham, Nabatchi, Senger & Jackman, 2008). ADR refers to a wide range of conflict management strategies and process adopted in lieu of traditional judicial and administrative litigation and adjudication (Bingham, Nabatchi, Senger & Jackman, 2008). A major conundrum of ADR is whether it could produce the same substantive results that are not different from that of traditional court and administrative systems. However, research seemed to suggest that with appropriate arbitrators, ADR provides desirable resolution outcomes (Bingham, Nabatchi, Senger & Jackman, 2008). Parties involved in the EC dispute are likely to renew their commitment and bury their differences with ADR than judicial litigation. Please, Professor. Jonah, come again!

The thoroughgoing EC conflicts require ADR not an acting EC Chairperson. God Bless Our Homeland Ghana.

Reference

Bingham, L. B., Nabatchi, T., Senger, J. M., & Jackman, M. S. (2008). Dispute resolution and the vanishing trial: Comparing federal government litigation and ADR outcomes. Ohio St. J. on Disp. Resol., 24, 225.

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