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EC wranglings . . . Test case for Ghana’s democracy

BY: Kobby Asmah

This year has been a rather difficult one for the Electoral Commission (EC). Everything seems to be going wrong and haywire for the election management body. Just last year, the commission seemed so determined and focused as it worked in tandem to prosecute one of the global best elections to be conducted in the annals of the country’s history.

So what has suddenly changed at this revered election institution which is giving it a bad name within the governance and political process? Over the last two weeks, no day passes without the high credentials of the EC being torn apart, butchered and scattered into thin air.

The EC has been in the news repeatedly for the wrong reasons and is embroiled in a state of turmoil, with accusations and counter-accusations becoming the order of the day.

Sadly, many governance institutions and experts, politicians and some civil society organisations seem to be dissipating every sinew of their energy to either run down or muddy the waters and in the process denigrat the globally revered institution.

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This mistrust and bad relations within the corridors of the EC have culminated in an impeachment process which has been activated among the three top echelons of the commission.

3 Petitions before CJ

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, last Friday, referred two petitions invoking the provisions of Article 146(3) of the Constitution in respect of the office of the Deputy Chairpersons of the Electoral Commission, Ms Georgina Opoku Amankwa and Mr Amadu Sulley, respectively, to the Chief Justice (CJ), Justice Sophia Akuffo.

The Office of the President received the two petitions, both dated July 25, 2017 from Emmanuel Korsi Senyo, who described himself as a “Concerned Citizen of Ghana.”

President Akufo-Addo, pursuant to the terms of Article 146(3), thus referred both petitions to the Chief Justice for resolution in accordance with the provisions of Article 146(3).

Already, an earlier petition against the EC boss, Mrs Charlotte Osei, is also in the hands of the CJ.

Some concerned EC staff triggered the impeachment process against the EC boss by sending a 24-point petition to the President, who also forwarded it to the CJ.

Since assuming the EC chair, Mrs Osei has never known peace but she has bravely stood her ground and managed to steer the election management body to organise the 2016 Election satisfactorily.

Little did the nation expect that there were simmering tensions and smouldering fire. Sadly, the smouldering fire, which was left unchecked, has grown into an inferno and culminated in an impeachment process.

Internal wranglings

The fallout from the EC is not only undermining Ghana’s democratic credentials but also reducing public confidence in the commission which can be very dangerous in the long run.

It is in this respect, the ongoing misunderstanding at the Electoral Commission needs to be resolved and done so quickly.

Thankfully, now that the President, in his own wisdam, has forwarded the three petitions to the CJ, we should all cease fire to allow due process to work to its logical conclusion.

EC brouhaha made partisan

Unfortunately, the EC brouhaha has been made partisan and there is the New Patriotic Party (NPP) stake and that of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). Depending on where one stands, Mrs Charlotte Osei is either guilty or not guilty. The same fate applies to her two deputies, Mr Amadu Sulley and Madam Georgina Opoku Amankwah. Political parties must desist from muddying the waters and stay off the EC brouhaha and rather help the EC to stay on course.

Greater care needs to be taken so that the commission does not lose three of its very top principal leadership.

The EC is a very sensitive governance institution and it, therefore, requires the support and trust of all to make the commission functional.

The “pull him down” syndrome must stop and to preserve the country’s democratic integrity there is the need to restore the credibility of the commission.

Even though the EC boss has denied the accusations and counter-incriminated her accusers, including her two deputies,