First National Vice Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo has accused the Akufo-Addo-led government of removing Charlotte Osei as the Chair of the Electoral Commission, Ghana (EC) despite her capabilities of doing the job.
He noted that before the 2016 elections, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) had pledged to remove Charlotte Osei and has worryingly replaced her with someone who is not politically neutral.
“Unfortunately, this current government even when in opposition sought to frustrate the EC Chairperson and vowed to oust her on assumption of power, and this is a statement that was made by several leading members of the party and it’s a public knowledge,” he said at the 5th edition of the Accra Dialogue on Wednesday.
The Dialogue was organized by Media General in partnership with the Institute of Law and Public Affairs (ILPA) and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.
According to him, the government schemed to remove Mrs Osei and her two deputies – Georgina Opoku Amankwaa and Amadu Sulley – under strange conditions “through manipulation and orchestration of a process of realizing its avowed goal”.
Mrs Osei was later replaced by Jean Mensa after President Akufo-Addo appointed the latter in consultation with the Council of State.
Three other members of the Commission were also appointed.
Mr Ofosu Ampofo stated that the president could not appoint persons who are politically neutral to manage the electoral body, claiming previous presidents had appointed neutral persons to the position.
“Again, I must say the president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo could not appoint for the nation persons politically neutral, to superintend our electoral process,” he indicated.
“As a matter of fact, if you take the seven-member commission and if you look at historical antecedent, you realize that from 1992, when the seven-member Electoral Commission were put in place, subsequent heads of state, [former] President Kufor had opportunity of appointing commission members, [late] President Mills had opportunity of appointing some commission members and [former] President John Dramani Mahama also had the opportunity of doing same.”
He mentioned, however, that in less than a year after winning the elections, the NPP government has managed to remove four out of seven members of the seven-member Commission.
“If what we are reading in the papers are anything to go by an attempt to even get another member of the Commission out of office on the pretext that she has understated her age [is underway].”
He suggested the need to guard the over-politicization of the EC.
“We need to guard against the over-politicization of the EC, their termination and appointment because if you look at the history, the current EC, the appointment and termination has raised serious questions of the integrity of our electoral body.”
He called for the need to guarantee the autonomy of the EC, IPAC must be institutionalized and strengthened and the central structures of the EC must be equipped with the necessary infrastructure.
By Lily Kakra Owusu|3news.com|Ghana