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STATESMAN OPINION: ‘WORRYING TIMES AT EC’ ARE THE STATE’S BURDEN

General News

Since the December 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections, the Electoral Commission has been the subject of upheaval, caused not by feuding unionists with axe to grind against management, but by electoral commissioners and directors who ought to know better and who were put there for that very reason.

Since the December 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections, the Electoral Commission has been the subject of upheaval, caused not by feuding unionists with axe to grind against management, but by electoral commissioners and directors who ought to know better and who were put there for that very reason.

 

While the EC insisted that the Electoral Commissioner, Charlotte Osei, was acting lawfully within her rights as Head of Team, her deputies claimed that the EC boss was running a petticoat regime, a dictatorial administration that kept the other electoral commissioners locked out of otherwise routine inclusive decision-making.

Deputy Chairman in Charge of Operations Alhaji Amadu Sulley and Deputy Chairman in Charge of Corporate Services Georgina Opoku Amankwaa are only trying, in Mrs Osei’s opinion, to “ambush” her and frustrate her out of office.

For over six months, the misunderstanding between Mrs Osei and her colleague commissioners grew ever worse, in spite of interventions by a Supreme Court-led panel to investigate the cause and restore sanity among the lead players in the corridors of the EC.

Interestingly, in yesterday’s edition of the state-owned Daily Graphic (June 4, 2018), experts in governance called for an intervention in the chaos at the Electoral Commission, as it appears the rift is widening between the EC boss and her team of commissioners.

Mrs Osei’s deputies accuse her of personally intervening to influence the finances and administrative schedules of the EC, including procurement and contracts.

We at the Daily Statesman agree that what is happening in the EC is a clear case of infighting that can only be checked by the strong hand of government.

Reports indicate that preparations and meetings to take vital decisions regarding logistics and recruitment of field personnel are in limbo. The dispute between Mrs Osei and her deputies is making it impossible to arrange systems that will enable the EC to officiate responsibly and competently in the forthcoming referendum on the creation of new regions.

Although we agree with the experts on governance that an appropriate body must expedite work on the judicial inquiry, we also argue that the EC’s current governance structure grants it powers beyond its rightful autonomous status and puts too much power into the hands of the Electoral Commissioner. As things stand, this same person virtually decides how the election pendulum swings in Ghana. 

In making this argument, we submit that the Council of State should be as much involved as the Peace Council and the Supreme Court in designing stringent structures to buttress the work of the EC. The new structures and reforms should be in line with the recent Supreme Court decisions for sanitising our electoral processes, as well as normal Public Services Commission rules and regulations on good corporate governance that will assist the EC to run as efficiently as the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Ministry of Trade and Industry, for instance. 

We believe this is a necessary step in fumigating the EC of political pests and rodents who, by their actions and inactions, drag our nation and democratic systems into disrepute.