The newly appointed Chairperson of Ghana’s Electoral Commission, Mrs Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei, has pledged to be impartial in the discharge of her duties.
She gave the pledge when President John Dramani Mahama swore her into office at the Flagstaff House Tuesday morning, to officially give her the green light to assume duty.
Having made history as the first female Electoral Commissioner of Ghana, she took over from Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, who himself served the commission for close to 22 years. Dr Afari-Gyan started work at the commission from 1992 and later became Chairman before retiring at the end of May 2015.
At age 46, Mrs Osei could be in charge of Ghana’s electoral administration body for the next 24 years.
According to Graphic Online's Presidential Correspondent, Kwame Asare Boadu, even though the ceremony at the seat of government was brief, it was monumental it was the first time a female was assuming office as chair of Ghana's electoral body.
Chairmen of political parties including Paul Afoko of the NPP, Ahmed Ramadan of the PNC and Samia Nkrumah of the CPP joined the ceremony. Mrs Osei swore the oaths of office, secrecy and allegiance before stepping forward to receive the scroll of office from the President, Asare Boadu reported.
After taking her oath of office, she used the opportunity to thank the President and the Council of State for the opportunity and promised to build on Ghana’s electoral successes.
“Together with my colleagues at the EC, we’ll continue to build and strengthen those structures towards a stronger, more independent, objective and impartial commission,” she pledged.
“We will work hard to continue the process of internal reforms and ensure a more effective and collaborative service delivery platform thereby increase the confidence of all our stakeholders in the institution in Ghana’s democracy,” she added.
Mrs Osei who resigned her position as chairperson of the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) to take up the job at the EC prayed that she could count on the support of other commissioners of the EC, the management and staff and the entire nation.
She said from what she has gathered from all the messages received as of now, the collective desire of people was that, “as chair of the Electoral Commission, I act with conviction and conscience, understanding that its service to God and country, above all else. This I will do.”
Mrs Osei also took the opportunity to wish her successor at the NCCE well,saying, "Also following my resignation from the NCCE to take this new position , I want to wish my successor well, whoever is appointed, and also urge my colleagues at the NCCE to show my successor the phenomenal level of support they showed me during my tenure."
“I am depending on the grace of God to sustain me in this new job and the prayers and collective goodwill of all Ghanaians, I believe will see us through,” she said.
Education and Qualifications
Mrs Osei, whose interests include gardening, interior décor and African Art, holds a Master of Business Leadership (MBL), University of South Africa, Pretoria (2006), Master of Laws, (LLM), Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada (1996), Qualifying Certificate in Law, practising certificate to work as a Barrister & Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Ghana, Ghana School of Law, Accra, Ghana (1994) and LLB (Hons) University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana (1992).
She is an old student of the Ghana National College in Cape Coast.
She has significant experience in many facets of law, with particular specialisation in corporate/business law, banking, investment and employment law.
Afari Gyan was a colossus - Mahama
President Mahama at the swearing in ceremony said Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan during his tenure proved that he was a “colossus” when it comes to elections and electoral systems and despite whatever grievances, “we as politicians whether in government or opposition, distinguished himself creditably and contributed immensely to the stability of our democracy.”
“We are however blessed to have some very experienced deputy commissioners and members of the commission in place who I’m sure will provide you with some invaluable advice and support in the management of the commission and the administration of our elections”.
The President said Ghana can be proud of its Electoral Commission which has become a model for the rest of the African continent.
He said Ghana’s commissioners have been invited regularly to assist other countries to consolidate and construct their own electoral systems.
“If Ghana today is celebrated as a model of democracy, a large measure of that credit should go to Dr Afari Gyan and the members of the Electoral Commission.
“Our politics must begin to reflect the long years of our fourth republic which commenced as far back as 1992. Violence should not have, and must never have a fleece in our politics, be it intra party or inter party.”
Source: Daily Graphic
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