EC boss saga: Allow Council of State to do its work – Nana Addo to Mahama

EC boss saga: Allow Council of State to do its work – Nana Addo to Mahama

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President John Mahama must “abide by the Constitution and allow the Council of State do its work openly and transparently” when it comes to the appointment of a new chairman of the Electoral Commission.

The presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Nana Akufo-Addo, who made the call, said it is imperative “so that the final product will engender broad public confidence.”

He said: “It is important for the strengthening of our democracy. This is, in effect, the first time such an appointment is being made under the Fourth Republican Constitution – hence the anxiety of the public that we should get it right. I have no doubt that the President, the avowed democrat that he is, will not fail the people of Ghana in this regard.”

In an apparent response to some who say Mahama must be left alone to select the new EC boss, Nana Akufo-Addo said: “All citizens of Ghana have a stake in the appointment. Hence, the importance of public opinion in the process. The framers of the Constitution were keenly aware of the impropriety inherent in allowing the President, a political player, to play a critical role in selecting the political referee. Hence the constitutional arrangements of Article 70(2) of our Constitution.”

Article 70(2) provides that, “The President shall, acting on the advice of the Council of State, appoint the Chairman, Deputy Chairmen, and other members of the Electoral Commission.”

This constitutional provision, according to Nana Akufo-Addo in an address to students of UCC, imposes an obligation on the President to act on the advice of the Council of State in appointing the Chairman and Members of the EC.

“Advice in this context refers to a binding instruction given by one constitutional officer to another. Thus, when Article 70(2) provides that the President shall act on the advice of the Council of State, it contemplates that the Council of State will put in place a mechanism to search for, vet and nominate a candidate for the President to appoint,” Nana Addo explained.

“In many, many other jurisdictions across the world, whoever successfully emerges as head of the Electoral Commission is put through a rigorous selection procedure, which includes wide stakeholder consultation, vetting by a committee, often in public, and finally, approval by a special majority (⅔ or ¾) of the legislature. Appointment by the President is then a formality.”

On who should replace his “three-year Legon Hall roommate, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan”, Nana Addo outlined the qualities the eventual choice of the Council of State must possess.

“He/She must be an efficient person, with an independent, impartial spirit, who generates confidence across the wider reaches of the society, and who owes his/her duty not to the government of the day, but to the people of Ghana,”

The person, Nana Addo added, must restore the confidence of the people in the EC once again.

Ghana, according to the NPP flagbearer, cannot afford to get the choice of the new EC boss wrong, maintaining that “the surest way to safeguarding our democracy is ensuring that we have credible elections”, as the institution mandated by the 1992 Constitution to conduct and supervise public elections “must be seen by the citizenry and all stakeholders to be fair and ready to uphold the sovereign will of voters in their choice of their leaders.”

In recent years, a litany of events have dented the confidence of the public in the Electoral Commission.

These include the presidential election petition of 2013; the nullification by the Supreme Court of the use by the EC of NHIS cards as identification for voter registration; and the recent cancellation of the District Assembly and Unit Committee elections, on which $100 million of public money was spent.


Source:starrfmonline

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