The removal of Mrs. Charlotte Osei, Amadu Sulley and Mrs. Georgina Opoku Amankwa as commissioners of the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana is generating one of the most heated controversies in the nation’s recent political history.
Many people have described the decision to fire the three in several terms, including: shocking, unfortunate, dangerous, sad, wrong, harsh, unconstitutional, outrageous, long overdue, ill-timed, well-deserved and self-inflicting.
In fact, so passionate were some people about the decision that members of the opposition National Democrartic Congress (NDC) swore heaven and earth to compel President Nana Akufo-Addo and the Committee that took the decision to ‘eat back’ their words.
Political observers say, but for the unfortunate passing of the former Vice President, Mr. Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, the country would have been in ‘flames’ by now. At least the NDC immediately put on hold its intended demonstration against the decision less than an hour after news of the former Veep’s passing broke.
But in spite of what people say or think of the historic dismissal, certain facts are incontrovertible about Mrs. Osei’s administrative style. While to the media, she was entangled in too much controversy, her subordinates at the Commission said she was too bossy.
Many people say she stepped on too many toes in the run-up to the 2016 general elections with the controversial disqualification of 13 presidential candidates. For instance, the People’s National Convention (PNC) made a statement that: ‘Ghana was not safe under Charlotte Osei’; and so was the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), which was quoted as saying: “We have evidence that could impeach Charlotte Osei”.
Citizen Vigilante, Martin Amidu, also reportedly demanded her resignation after describing her as ‘incompetent and arrogant’. And as evidenced by the ‘we saw it, we liked it, and we took it’ pronouncement that greeted the logo saga, Mr. Kwame Damoah Agyemang, a former administrator of the EC also hammered on her arrogance. Apart from that, a research reportedly conducted by the Centre for Media Analysis (CMA) revealed that Ghanaians don’t trust the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission.
Soon after that election, the presidential candidate for the All People’s Congress (ACP), Hassan Ayariga, described her appointment as a ‘mistake’. To the Convention People’s Party (CPP), her removal was a ‘no surprise’. The media also quoted Madam Akua Donkor,of the …..as saying, “It served her right, she was arrogant”. Though not the spokesperson for the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr. Mustapha Hamid, Minister for Information, said the removal of the EC boss and her deputies were self-inflicted.
At that stage, one could say those perceptions were born out ‘sour grapes’; until the contents of the report from the committee set up by the Chief Justice came to light.
The critical questing in the face of the above is, can everyone be wrong and only Charlotte Osei be right?
THE PUBLISHER thinks this is a near impossibility.
In our view, for as long as the President followed the constitution in forwarding the petition to the appropriate quarters, for as long as the committee formed by the Chief Justice did a thorough and conclusive job, and for as long as it can be established that the acrimony at the EC virtually drove the country to a precipice of civil conflict before the 2016 general elections, the sobbing by the NDC is unnecessary and hypocritical.