A youth-oriented group, the Dynamic Youth Movement of Ghana (DYMOG), is urging the Council of State to impress on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to reverse the nomination of Jean Adukwei Mensa as the new chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC).
It argued though the nomination by the President was done within the confines of the constitution, it threatens the country’s democracy, peace and stability considering the issues surrounding the removal of Mrs Charlotte Osei.
The group held that the action by Nana Akufo-Addo is too risky especially so as there are cases challenging the processes and eventual removal of Mrs. Osei and her two deputies as commissioners of the EC.
President Akufo-Addo on July 23 named Mrs. Mensa as the new EC chairperson to replace Mrs. Osei who was removed from office on June 28, 2018 on grounds of “stated misbehaviour and incompetence”.
He also named Samuel Tettey who is currently the Director of Electoral Services and Dr. Eric Asare Bossman who is the head of the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana as members of the Commission.
They are to replace Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwa who were removed along with Mrs Charlotte Osei on the same grounds of misbehaviour and incompetence.
Their removal was on the back of recommendations from a committee set up by the Chief Justice to investigate the three on allegations brought against them by some staff of the Commission in July 2017.
Per Article 70(2), President Akufo-Addo has since July 19 written to the Council of State to advice him on the nominations which also saw Adwoa Asuama Abrefa being named as a member of the EC.
“Taking a snapshot at the issues surrounding the removal of the former EC Chairperson, considering the legal issues raised by private citizens challenging the legality of her removal, the application for an injunction to prevent the President from appointing new EC officials and now the swift move by the President to nominate new officials , DYMOG is of the firm believe Ghana’s democracy, Peace and Stability are ‘highly at risk’ if issues surrounding the electoral commission, appointment of its members and activities are not managed properly going forward” it said in a statement Tuesday.
According to DYMOG, the President’s action could prejudice the cases which are before the Supreme Court contending it may amount to pressure on the judges in giving their verdict.
“It would therefore have been expedient if the President had waited for the conclusive determination of the suits before putting out names for consideration,” it observed.
Read the full statement below
President’s Move ‘Highly Risky’ for our Democracy
On 23rd July 2018, the President exercised his powers under Article 70(2) of the 1992 Constitution by nominating Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa for the position of EC Chair, Mr. Samuel Tettey and Dr. Eric Asare Bossman for deputy chairpersons and Ms. Adwoa Asuama Abrefa as an EC member.
Taking a snapshot at the issues surrounding the removal of the former EC Chairperson, considering the legal issues raised by private citizens challenging the legality of her removal, the application for an injunction to prevent the President from appointing new EC officials and now the swift move by the President to nominate new officials , DYMOG is of the firm believe Ghana’s democracy, Peace and Stability are ‘highly at risk’ if issues surrounding the electoral commission, appointment of its members and activities are not managed properly going forward.
The President swiftly putting out names for consideration raises some concerns which DYMOG is sharing with the general public.
I. Prejudice -The removal of Madam Charlotte Osei and the legal actions triggered to challenge her removal are both unprecedented under the 4th Republic. On this premise, the judgement of the Supreme Court will give clear guidance going forward on this matter. Although the nominations don’t prevent same, it makes the citizenry expect an outcome and may amount to pressure on the judges in giving their verdict. It would therefore have been expedient if the President had waited for the conclusive determination of the suits before putting out names for consideration.
II. Election stakeholder management crises – the EC itself, Government and opposition political parties are key players in organizing peaceful and successful elections. TheNDC being the largest opposition party and a key stakeholder has registered displeasure at the removal of the former EC chairperson and has also fingered some names put out for consideration by the President as being NPP inclined. DYMOG believes, the verdict of the Supreme Court would have addressed sentiments about the removal of the former EC Boss and consequentially enabled a healthy focus on the appointment of the new EC officials. It’s therefore our judgement that, the hurried move by the President heightens suspicions that government and the NPP premeditatedly orchestrated the removal of the former EC Boss and her deputies to replace them with pro NPP officials. This is really avoidable!
III.The danger of the EC becoming an extension of political parties in power. Suspicions whether real or perceived about the President appointing people who are NPP inclined have the potency to develop a culture where political parties will sack EC officials through fair or foul means when they win power. If this becomes the norm, our democracy will be under threat!
Elections are a crucial part of our democratic process and so, should be handled legally and commonsensically. Strategic stakeholder management is essential in any electoral process and the effectiveness of same, influences the success of any elections.
To better manage the sentiment of stakeholders and for the better consolidation of our peace and democracy, DYMOG recommends the following:
- The Council of State should intervene by calling on the President to recall his nominations for the EC till the legal actions at the Supreme Court are determined.
- The Chief Justice should expedite action on the legal suits so they can be concluded expeditiously. These cases are of huge public interest so their timely conclusion is vital.
- All political parties and other stakeholders should exercise restraint and exploit legal means to address their concerns.