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As Parliament Investigates A Joke, The Electoral Commission Went to War   
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Simpa Panyin is not happy. I wish I was allowed the opportunity to write about the concert that happened at the Electoral Commission, and why none of those bringing the commission to its knees must be spared.

What is happening at the Electoral Commission is a festival of lawlessness. The Chairperson for the Electoral Commission, Charlotte Osei, accuses her deputies of fraud. Charlotte Osei is, in turn, accused of corruption by her deputies, setting the stage for the Electoral Commission to be turned into a shithole.

In the midst of the disclosures, EOCO, which is not the appointing authority, reportedly writes to Georgina Amankwah, one of the accused, asking her to proceed on leave, leaving the rest of the Commissioners to stay at post. Georgina Amankwah proceeds on leave, for six months, then realized she was being fooled. She resumes duty without permission.

EOCO then storms the Electoral Commission with Police Armored vehicles, to remove her – do you get the way we use power wrongly, and the way we waste public resources? What are you going to do with armored cars, and several Armed Police Personnel at the Electoral Commission? To remove a Deputy Electoral Commissioner, physically, from her seat? Are we sooo….sorry, I will not continue.

Is this not so simple? You have issued a letter to a public official, to proceed on leave. If you believe, truly, that you are clothed with the authority to do so, and that the said public official has refused your orders, does that need state fuelled armored vehicles to enforce your orders? Couldn’t you have gone to the courts to obtain enforcement orders, to remove the woman? Did it have to take EOCO’s Executive Director, ACP K. K. Amoah (rtd), along with dozens of Police men armed with AK 47 assault rifles, and two police armored vehicles, all fuelled and financed by you and I, to go and remove an unarmed woman who is already in her 50s?

So just because we gave you an office, and gave you a title, and gave you a budget, and clothed you with some small power nooo, you have to act by heart? If I was the President, I would have transferred the same armored vehicles that you used, the same police AK 47 rifles that you used, to your office, and remove you, yourself, from your seat, and to dump you, for refusing to think beyond the use of brut, for using unwarranted intimidation, and for refusing to think beyond the useless deployment of our Police Force.

And what did you do when the woman refused to leave the office? You stood there, in her presence, with your crest fallen, helpless, with all the AK 47s in your hands, in the midst of all the armed men at your disposal, you stood there weakened, until she left at her own time.

So what did you achieve, with all the display of power? Please go and tell whoever pushed you to do what you did that you were disgraced – and next time do not allow anyone to push you.

And you see, Georgina Opoku Amankwah herself looked so determined to be lawless. You have been given a letter to proceed on leave. You have temporary complied. If you think that the orders for you to proceed on leave is wrong, what do you do? Don’t you have to go to court, to re-instate your rights? Do you have to use force, to re-instate yourself, to the extent that you threaten to, physically, break into the offices? Is that office your family property? That you can arrogate to yourself the audacity to break into that office, for who to pay for its repairs? Is that the best example you could set for your junior staff, that whenever they are unhappy with you, they should begin to destroy government properties?

The person I pity, the most, is Simpa Panyin. You are sitting down for these people to fart by heart. You can’t find any quick legal route to fire the entire Electoral Commissioners? Or you are afraid of what Opana and his boys would say? Or what else do you want to know? They are accusing each other. Charlotte Osei is accusing her deputies. Her Deputies are accusing her. Some staff of the Commission are accusing either the Commissioner herself, or her deputies. Can’t you see?

And Simpa Panyin keeps adding to the pack of useless issues to deal with. For instance, I am still at a shock as to how the Speaker of Parliament obliged to set up a whole committee to probe an allegation on something called Cash-for-seat, which is an acceptable practice in development fundraising.

Simpa Panyin is a known anti-corruption campaigner, so I support any investigation that seeks to unravel public corrupt practices. But this ongoing Cash-for-Seat Parliamentary probe di3333, it seems to me, as the most useless and wasteful attempts of all time, to the extent that each time I have watched the proceedings, I have felt like I was watching Kajetia vrs Makola.

A private entity signs an MOU with a government agency. The private entity decides to adopt a strategy in fundraising. Let’s, for the sake of argument, assume that the strategy includes a seat by the President (if you paid $100,000), what is wrong with such an arrangement?

I will not go into whether or not there is some truth in the allegations, to the effect that some people paid $100,000 to sit with the President, or to have dinner with the President. That is a subject under probe, and therefore I will not pre-empt the outcome.

But let’s assume that it is true, that some individual expatriates paid $100,000 in order to sit by the President, and the Foundation is able to secure the President’s time to have such an attendance at the fundraising, what in this world would have been wrong with that?

I pride myself as an experienced international fundraiser. I will be failing my reading public if I did not use the opportunity of this probe to offer my insights into why this probe is a waste of public time.

Remember this is not a public Presidential Media Encounter. The government of Ghana is not investing any money. Every expense and effort is being paid for by the Millennium Excellence Foundation – to raise money, and to award deserving recipients. The only effort on the part of government is to hope to secure the presence of the President, and some Ministers – how does paying premium to have a premium seat then become a problem?

Sometimes ignorance can force us to argue wrongly, and the danger is when you are ignorant but wield power, you find yourself getting everyone talking wrongly. This is what, I believe, is happening with the ongoing Parliamentary waste of time.

It is not easy for any organization in this country, or any other country, to secure the attendance of the President of the Republic at their fundraising and awards events. So for Ambassador Victor Gbeho, who is a known NDC frontline activist, to be able to secure the presence of Nana Akufo-Addo, an NPP leader, to honor his fundraiser, we ought to be applauding the two, rather than tearing them apart.

My view is that the Millennium Excellence Foundation does not deserve the negative publicity that some of our toddlers are taking them through.

I have been part of several major international fundraisers in Europe and America. The amount of money you are able to raise during fundraisers is a complicated combination of who are the personalities invited to grace the occasion, and who are the personalities invited to give money.

The personalities invited to grace the occasion usually give nothing. For instance, Michelle Obama is a fundraising tool for many causes. Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, was, for several decades, a fundraising tool for several world foundations. These personalities do not necessarily give money when they are present at fundraisers.

But their presence inspires the presence of those who have the money to give. Some of those wealthy attendees will give money not necessarily because they support the cause being advertised, but because they had the privilege of being on the same stage with a certain personality, and such opportunities then give them media mileage.

So I get it, that the Millennium Excellence Foundation’s MOU with the Ministry of Trade was to gain a certain level of traction, in the eyes of the expatriate business community, to tap into that network, for the purposes of raising money.

So I don’t know why the Ministry of Trade, and the Foundation, are being apologetic about a certain cash-for-seat – you should not apologize to anyone, even if you asked people to pay $100,000 in order to sit by the President.
Source: James Kofi Annan

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