NDC writes to Council of State over 2 EC appointees
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has formally written to the Council of State to reconsider its advice on the appointments of Dr Peter Appiahene and Hajia Salima Ahmed Tijani to the Electoral Commission (EC).
That, it said, was as a result of their affiliation with the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) as that could affect the trust and confidence in the commission.
The NDC said it was aware that once Dr Appiahene and Hajia Salima had been sworn-in as members of the commission, the Council of State had become “functus officio” in the process of their appointments.
“We are nevertheless of the view that against the background of the evidence that we have presented, it is possible for the council to re-consider its advice to the President in order to erase any perception that the council has been complicit in the appointment of these patently partisan individuals to the EC and to safeguard the integrity of the council as far as its rote in the structure of our governance architecture is concerned,” the letter dated April 17, 2023 and signed by the Chairman of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, said.
It was copied to the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; the Chairman, National Peace Council; the Chairperson of the EC, the European Union Observer Team, the African Union Observer Team, the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference, the Chairman of the Christian Council and the US Ambassador to Ghana.
On March 20, 2023, the President swore in Hajia Tijani, Dr Appiahene and Rev. Akua Ofori Boateng to the board of the EC.
However, three civil society organisations (CSOs), including the Coalition for Democratic Election Observers, called on Hajia Tijani and Dr Appiahene to resign honourably due to their perceived affiliation with the ruling party.
The NDC said it had observed and followed the clamour of rejection and condemnation that the appointment of Dr Appiahene and Hajia Tijani to the EC had received from multiple stakeholders of the country’s democracy
It said Article 70 (2) of the 1992 Constitution required that in appointing persons to the EC, the President shall do so acting on the advice of the Council of State.
The Article provides as follows: ‘The President shall, acting on the advice of the Council of State, appoint the Chairman, Deputy Chairmen, and other members of the Electoral Commission.”
In the specific case of Dr Appiahene, the party said some political parties, CSOs, faith-based organisations, political watchers and other concerned neutrals had criticised what they considered to be the appointment of a publicly-known hardliner and irredeemably partisan NPP activist to fill one of the vacancies that had become available at the EC following the recent retirement of three members of the commission.
“ Not only is Dr Appiahene a card-bearing member of the ruling NPP but a recognised leading figure within the ranks of the party.
He has been a patron of the tertiary wing of the NPP TESCON, at the University of Energy and Natural Resources in Sunyani since 2017.
He is a known communicator of the NPP in the Bono Region on both radio and television.
“In support of these averments, we have attached on eight pen drives evidence of Dr Appiahene’s advocacy for the NPP in the public domain as captured on audio-visuals to back our complaint.
Prior to his appointment to the EC, Dr Appishene had played various leading roles for the NPP in the Bono Region,” it said.
On the appointment of Hajia Tijani, the party said its background search revealed that she had well-known NPP leanings and that aside the fact that she was herself an activist of the ruling NPP, she was married to one Sheikh T.B. Damba, a former Second National Vice-Chairman of the NPP, and Ghana's immediate-past Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, from 2017 to 2021.