Why are some NDC folks backing the pathetic mess at EC?

Charlotte Osei45 Charlotte Osei, Electoral Commissioner

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 Source: Bernard Asubonteng

The MP for Assin Central, Mr. Kennedy Agyapong may not be a shrewd communicator as far as exposing the ingrained corruption and other socioeconomic ills bedevilling the nation. However, one crucial fact a sizable number of Ghanaians may all agree on is that Mr. Agyapong is one of the few state corruption fighters today who passionately and fearlessly speaks truth to power.

Long before this pathetically comical in-fighting of accusations and counter-accusations of financial mismanagement started to unfold at the Electoral Commission office, the Assin Central MP had consistently maintained that the chair of the Commission Madam Charlotte Osei, in particular, is sorely unqualified for the job.

Central to Mr. Kennedy Agyepong’s contention regarding Mrs. Charlotte Osei’s appointment and subsequent confirmation as the Electoral Commissioner is that her choice is grounded on “who she knows” rather than “what she knows.”

To put it bluntly, the firebrand Assin Central MP’s insistence all along has been that the Electoral Commissioner Ms. Osei is an inept administrator whose appointment for the EC post is inconsistent with meritocracy.

Mr. Agyepong’s attacks triggered scolding comments from Madam Charlotte Osei’s appointing authorities and other supporters, including a handful of feminist apologists, accusing the MP for displaying misogynistic effrontery toward the then President Mahama’s “smart” female choice for electoral commissioner.

Now, whichever way one looks at Mr. Kennedy Agyepong’s interminable criticisms of Mrs. Charlotte Osei’s job performance, the ongoing moronic “comedy of errors” at the electoral commission appears to corroborate whatever unfavorable views Mr. Agyepong has for Madam Osei’s leadership acumen.

The jocular but incriminating spectacle playing out at the electoral commission secretariat indubitably gives credence to all the public indictments against Ms. Osei’s poor managerial expertise. By virtue of their ultra-sensitive positions, the Commission is supposed to rise above pettiness and shady activities. But, as of now, Ghanaians of all political bents are witnessing out-of-control electoral commissioner and her lieutenants bitterly entangled in the web of backbiting and suspected financial misdeeds.

Based on the ridiculous back and forth damning accusations coming from within the hitherto secretive crucible of the commission’s chamber, an impassioned observer can easily sense that the electoral commission led by sister Charlotte Osei, has dug itself further into an abyss of dysfunction. The sheer spitefulness aside, there seems to be an irreparable division between Madam Charlotte Osei and her deputies which has reached toxic proportions. Under these disarrayed conditions, the earlier these empty-headed “electoral comedians” heed the call from some sensible Ghanaians to step aside, the better their early removal good for the country’s fragile democratic experiment.

Ms. Charlotte Osei’s lack of proficiency at the EC job is astonishing. Evidently, Mr. Kennedy Agyapong hasn’t been joking at all about the EC’s appalling work output. Watching YouTube and listening carefully to Ms. Osei’s responses to some questions in parliament, the likely conclusion any thoughtful individual may draw is that this EC, indeed, lacks clear sense of analytic dexterities.

At some point during the parliamentary inquiry, Mrs. Osei would be seen laughing as if to signal that the whole questioning exercise was laughable or waste of her unproductive time. Hopefully, that was not the case, but if that was her mindset throughout the proceedings then all concerned Ghanaians must “cry blood” for Ghana’s future elections. Parliamentary inquiry of this nature is not an occasion to show indifferent attitudes unless the person at the center of the investigation is clueless and careless.

For sure, with all that is going on at the EC bureau, no one deserves blame more than Mrs. Charlotte Osei. As the leader of the crew, the “buck stops at her desk.” From the ECs’ own individual accounts, it is obvious there are institutionalized rots/corruptions occurring under Charlotte Osei’s leadership. In fact, a cursory view of her sluggish handling, suffice to say, the incoherent explanations of her arbitrary spending of Ghanaian taxpayers’ money under her control, underscore her notoriety for her abysmal organizational abilities and her overweening tendencies.

There is a common narrative in Ghana that Mrs. Charlotte Osei is somehow arrogant, but some of us don’t buy that characterization. The truth is, in most cases people who lack personal skills such as creativity, critical thinking, job competence, excellent interpersonal relations, social intelligence, and the like, try to make up for their inadequacies by putting up some psychological defenses. Often, some of these psychosomatic defenses entail avoiding eye-to-eye conversations, ignoring people as much as possible, putting appearance of overconfidence, staying to oneself a lot, and many more.

The point is the current EC is not necessarily arrogant; instead, the weight and the pressure of the EC position tremendously overwhelm her. She still has not mastered enough organizational skills to prove equal to the job. So, the best strategy for her is to avoid engaging people/media, because she may not be one of those critical thinkers who can think quickly standing on their feet and makes great sense.

So it is hard trying to make sense of the notion that the EC is “independent” so she is not fully expected to talk to the members in parliament or be forthright with them during questionings. This is for Madam Osei’s education: Parliament is the most important workstation in every true democracy. Unlike judiciary and the executive branches, the Electoral Commissioners’ office, regardless of its independence, is not a coequal arm of the government. Parliament has the power to let EC talk.

This brings us to the puzzling development in which a host of MPs predominantly from the opposition NDC side are vehemently defending Mrs. Charlotte Osei as if she is the party’s crown jewel to be venerated and protected at all cost. Why are many of the NDC members in parliament backing an indefensibly tactless EC caught up in a messy bookkeeping tussle with her coworkers?

Unable to deliver the 2016 presidential elections for her appointing overlord(s) as she was probably handpicked to do, Mrs. Osei’s ineffectiveness is legendary that it is inexplicable, seeing vociferous backers at the NDC, still naively entertaining any idea that her occupancy at the EC post might augur well for their electoral success in future general elections. If that is the political gamble adopted by the minority members in parliament, then the NDC, as a party, has a long winding road to travel in the opposition.

Bernard Asubonteng is U.S.-based writer; send your comments to: b.asubonteng@gmail.com

Columnist: Bernard Asubonteng
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