We have observed with great concern, the processes leading to the attempts to remove the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs. Charlotte Osei and her two other deputies from office by this government.
The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, under Article 146, states the processes and procedures to be followed in the removal of any person holding such an office.
While we must admit that the Constitution presents that a petition would have been presented, a petition does not qualify to be called a petition if it has no petitioners, no signature(s) and no date.
In the specific case, in a statement released from the presidency to the public on the 26th of July, 2017 which read in part “Whilst the President was out of the country, the office of the President received a petition, initially undated and unsigned, against the Chairperson of the EC. Subsequently, counsel, Maxwell Opoku Agyemang, Esq., by letter dated 20th July, 2017, wrote to the office of the President setting out the names of the petitioners and the date of the petition”.
The presidency, with this release, had clearly demonstrated that it has a clear understanding of what qualifies to be called a petition which should have compelled the president to act. To the extent that according to the presidency, the document did not qualify, what exact interest had the presidency in this matter that it could not act to dismiss the petition as not qualifying to be one?
That the presidency actually made contacts to ensure that the petition qualifies to be one, and to receive a presidential action on same, it suffices to say that the presidency was very interested in seeing to the removal of the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs. Charlotte Osei, and raises a few fundamental questions.
1. Why did the presidency hold onto a petition that had no petitioners and without date and signature?
2. At what point did the lawyer get the opportunity to follow up to correct the shortfalls of the petition without first withdrawing it?
3. What was the interest of the presidency in this petition for which they held on until all that could make it thrown out, were corrected before forwarding same to the Chief Justice?
This leaves a great room for us to doubt any claims that this petition was not borne out of malice.
Again, that the events after the presentation of the said petition to the Chief Justice has received very silent secrecy, leaves much to be desired. While the procedures are not lost on us, we are clearly of the view that the composition of the committee by the Chief Justice and members thereof, must not and cannot be kept from our knowledge as a public.
In a statement released by the Chief Justice on the 19th of December, 2017, the statement announced the formation of a committee upon the establishment of a prima facie case against Mrs. Charlotte Osei with the names of the said committee conspicuously missing from the release.
From our observation, the entire process is inquisitorial leaving too many questions, key of which bothers on the specific interest in ensuring the removal of the Electoral Commissioner from office.
It is on record that of the 27 grounds cited, 21 were found to be frivolous. The remaining issues that appears to be receiving attention, bothers on alleged procurement breaches. Mindful of the contempt powers of the committee established by the Chief Justice, we want to find out if procurement breaches amount to stated misbehavior as to constitute grounds for removal? More so when the Public Procurement Act as amended allows for a mechanism for investigation of procurement breaches amongst others.
This must be a worry to the people of Ghana. Not too long ago, the appointment of this very woman to head the institution Electoral Commission, received several resistance from the New Patriotic Party (NPP) then in opposition. At the time, there were many threats to reject any election results that did not declare the NPP winners of the 2016 elections.
It is public knowledge that the NPP had won the preceding elections upon her assumption of office which received the declaration from Mrs. Charlotte Osei as constitutionally mandated. It must be a matter of concern, how a person who had executed her constitutionally mandated duties, has become a subject for vindictive politicking.
Ghana, Africa, and the World at large, must care greatly about attempts to mar the beautiful democracy we are nurturing as a nation on a continent that has suffered several constitutional crises over the past many decades.
We call on all well-meaning democrats, advocates and believers in democracy and the protection of institutions of state, to rise up and ensure that we restore some sanity in the electoral authority of Ghana to ensure the safety of our future elections.
Baba Musah – 0246405890
Sulemana Abdul Karim – 0242025745
Stephen Attuh – 0271687801