NDC writes to Council of State over new EC appointments

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has written to the Council of State to re-consider its advice, based on which, President Akufo-Addo recently appointed Dr. Peter Appiahene and Hajia Salima Ahmed Tijani to the Electoral Commission (EC).

Following the retirement of some three members of the Electoral Commission, vacancies were created, which ought to be filled.

As a result, the President, upon consultation with the Council of State as required by Article 70(20) of the Constitution, appointed three persons to the vacant positions.

They are Salima Ahmed Tijani, Dr. Peter Appiahene and Rev Akua Ofori Boateng, who replaced Mrs. Hajia Sa-Adatu Maida, Mr. Ebenezer Aggrey-Fynn, and Mrs. Rebecca Kabukie Adjalo.

The three new members of the Commission have, subsequently, been sworn into office by President Akufo-Addo, as required by law.

However, the NDC has taken a swipe at the decision of the President, saying they were known New Patriotic Party (NPP) activists.

According to the party’s National Chairman, Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, the appointments of Dr. Appiahene and Hajia Salima Tijani would taint the impartiality posture of the Commission.

In a statement to the Council of State, Mr. Asiedu Nketiah explained that Dr. Appiahene had been a known and card-bearing member of the ruling party.

Supposed roles played by Dr. Appiahene in the NPP

The NDC claimed that Dr. Appiahene publicly touted his political profile and personal credentials as “a strong NPP man, with a lot of experience in election issues in Ghana.”

Dr. Peter Appiahene (L) and President Akufo-Addo

The party alleged that Dr. Appiahene had previously served as the NPP’s IT Director for Elections in the Bono Region, and also as a member of the party’s Regional Election Committee.

He alleged further that Dr. Appiahene was a member of the National Research and Data Analysis Team for Election 2020 for the NPP, and Regional Collation Officer for Internal Collation 2020.

The NDC again stated that Dr. Appiahene was the D-Day Coordinator for Election 2020 for the NPP, and a Member of the Bono Regional Communication Team.

Why Hajia Salima is not eligible

On the appointment of Hajia Salima Ahmed Tijani, the NDC claimed that its credible background search revealed that she had well-known leanings with the NPP. Mr. Asiedu Nketiah posited that she was officially married to one Sheikh T.B. Damba, a former Second National Vice-Chairman of the NPP.

Hajia Salima Ahmed Tijani

The said Sheikh was appointed by the same government of Nana Addo as Ghana’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, from 2017 to 2021.

Her family, the party posited, was well rooted in the NPP tradition, adding that her mother, one Samata Gifty Bukari, was the first female Vice Chairperson of the New Patriotic Party in the Northern Region.

The NDC alleged that her sister, Hajia Abibata Shani Mahama Zakariah, had been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Micro Finance and Loans Centre. The same sister, the party said, was a former contestant in the New Patriotic Party 2020 parliamentary primary in the Yendi Constituency.

In view of the above narratives, the NDC stated that it was highly unacceptable for such politically exposed persons, with overwhelming partisan credentials, to be appointed as members of the EC.

The NDC explained that for any election to be accepted as credible, free, fair, and transparent, every process must be accepted by key stakeholders.

To achieve this, the party added that principal actors, including members of the electoral management body, must not only be, but must be, perceived to be neutral and impartial to be able to carry all parties along.

“Unfortunately, it is demonstrably clear that the positions and roles of these appointees within the NPP compromise their capacity to act with any form of neutrality,” the party said.

On the back of this, the party said such appointments would “hamper public confidence in the constitutionally independent body and undermine the conduct of free, fair, and transparent elections in Ghana.”

To remedy the situation, the NDC indicated that the appointments of persons with such overwhelmingly partisan credentials to the EC were dangerous.

It has, therefore, appealed to the Council of State to examine and consider pieces of information put on a pen drive it had submitted, as evidence.

The solid evidence, the party claimed, would enable the Council to re-consider its advice to the President in order to erase any perceptions that the public had associated with it.

According to the NDC, such a move would clear the Council of being complicit in the appointments of the alleged patently partisan individuals to the EC.

Such a move, the party added, would safeguard the integrity of the Council, as far as “its role in the structure of our governance architecture was concerned.”


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