All Ghanaians have a stake in EC boss appointment – Nana Addo

Opposition Leader Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has pointed out to President John Dramani Mahama that the appointment of a Chairman for the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana is not his sole prerogative.

“All citizens of Ghana have a stake in the appointment. Hence, the importance of public opinion in the process.”

Nana Addo made this suggestion on Saturday, April 18 when he addressed the student wing of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the Tertiary Students Confederacy (TESCON), at the University of Cape Coast.

Chairman of the EC Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan is expected to proceed on statutory retirement in June.

Appointment of his successor as per Article 70(2) of the 1992 Constitution, therefore, is imminent.

Though the Article states that: “The President shall, acting on the advice of the Council of State, appoint the Chairman, Deputy Chairmen, and other members of the Electoral Commission”, there has been varying definitions to this clause.

“Advice in this context refers to a binding instruction given by one constitutional officer to another,” Nana Addo explained.

“Thus, when Article 70(2) provides that the President shall act on the advice of the Council of State, it contemplates that the Council of State will put in place a mechanism to search for, vet and nominate a candidate for the President to appoint.”

The former Attorney General and Minister of Justice cited that: “In many, many other jurisdictions across the world, whoever successfully emerges as head of the Electoral Commission is put through a rigorous selection procedure, which includes wide stakeholder consultation, vetting by a committee, often in public, and finally, approval by a special majority (⅔ or ¾) of the legislature. Appointment by the President is then a formality.”

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The 2016 presidential candidate suggested qualities the new Electoral Commissioner must possess.

“He/She must be an efficient person, with an independent, impartial spirit, who generates confidence across the wider reaches of the society, and who owes his/her duty not to the government of the day, but to the people of Ghana.”

Dr Afari Gyan has served as Ghana’s Electoral Commissioner since 1993.

A roommate of Nana Addo during their school days at the University of Ghana, Dr Afari Gyan was dragged into the dock after the 2012 presidential elections as witness of the EC, the second respondent, with Nana Addo as the first petitioner.

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh||Ghana