These past two months have been a handful for Ghana and Ghanaians if one may ask. On June 28, 2018, Mrs Charlotte Osei, Mr. Amadu Sulley and Mrs Georgina Amankwa were removed from the Electoral Commission (EC) as Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners respectively.
They were dismissed after various acts of corruption, incompetence and abuse of office were established against them. Then on June 29, 2018, came news of the demise of a former Vice President, Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah Arthur.
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) was apoplectic when the news broke about Charlotte and her deputies. Its hierarchy planned a mammoth demonstration to hit the streets of Accra to demonstrate their displeasure about the fate of the electoral commissioners. Meanwhile, all the other minority parties had reasons to accept with sighs of relief, the decision by the government to implement the recommendations of the Sophia Akufo Committee, which had investigated the various allegations against the commissioners.
The committee, after serious work and deliberations, found truth in the corruption and incompetence allegations against the three.
Just as the NDC was getting itself in readiness for this mother of all demonstrations, news broke of the passing on to the life hereafter of their own, the former Vice President. As a mark of respect for the late Amissah Arthur, the largest opposition party announced the cessation of that demonstration until the man was laid to rest.
Still in the state of mourning, the NDC decided to turn down the invitation from the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to attend the latter’s National Delegates’ Conference in Koforidua on July 7, 2018.
What is actually intriguing is the constant changing of reasons for the demonstration. Firstly, we were told that because the NPP, while in opposition, had vowed to remove Charlotte Osei from office when it regains power, that agenda had been implemented. Next, we were told that the allegations brought against the Commissioner were frivolous, and that all the witnesses could not prove a point against her; then we were also told that the very act of corruption she was punished for did not warrant a dismissal. Indeed, and for a fact, the NDC wanted to say that if the head of a state institution violates procurement acts and unilaterally awarded contracts without knowledge or approval of the entire board and management of that institution, neither to the knowledge of the state procurement board, he or she should be left alone. Then one may wonder what corruption is all about.
Finally, the NDC are telling us that the demonstration against the removal of the Electoral Commissioner is not on Charlotte per say, but on the protection of the independence of the Electoral Commission.
On that point, is the NDC saying that should any commissioner found to be grossly corrupt, because of the independence of the commission he or she should not be touched?
All said, the NDC seemed to dwelling on the petition sent from the Electoral Commission against Charlotte Osei, and it keeps hammering on that the petitioners were faceless, and even one of those who had signed was long dead and buried.
It never, for once, dwelled on the issue of the open-air allegations of corruption and mismanagement spewed out by all the three top commissioners against each other, and which demanded serious investigation.
For example, how can someone illegally amass millions of dollars at the expense of the commission and the state, and be allowed to go free? How can someone import names of unqualified persons into the national voters’ register to over bloat it and be allowed to remain at post?
These, to me, are more important than the petition from the alleged faceless people who, incidentally, have started appearing.
One cannot think that any political party, especially one that had and can govern Ghana, will accept these corrupt acts to pass unchecked, except if it there is reason to believe it will reap benefits from that institution.
The Electoral Commission is made up of seven commissioners, and it soon dawned on people that the Nana Addo government was going to appoint at least four commissioners by the end of the year, and the others by the end of his four-year tenure in office as president.
Suddenly, panic and fear were introduced into the lives of ordinary Ghanaians, who were given a horrifying picture about what the Electoral Commission will look like with all seven commissioners appointed under this regime.
Nobody was referring to the institution of the Electoral Commission of this Fourth Republic, when all the seven commissioners were appointed by Jerry John Rawlings to oversee elections in this country.
Then, why the worry if it is obvious that the replacements of the entire commission would take place under this government?
Also, nobody seems to remember that the seven-member commission cannot decide the results of elections of any elections any more with the reforms in the electoral process.
The NDC has decided to march-past shortly in protest against the dismissal of Mrs Charlotte Osei, Mr. Amadu Sulley and Mrs Georgina Amankwa, and it seems it is going it all alone, without the participation of any of the other opposition parties. Maybe there is a reason for that which we are not being told, because one cannot understand that a party that sees corruption in every spectrum of society, and keeps daring the President to stamp it out, would, in itself, support people found to be grossly corrupt.