A retired Supreme Court Judge and former Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Ghana, Justice V.C.R.A.C Crabbe says, in essence, it is the council of state that makes the appointment of the chairperson of the Commission.
“According to Article 70(2) of the 1992 Constitution, “the President shall, acting on the advice of the Council of State, appoint the Chairman, Deputy Chairmen, and other members of the Electoral Commission”.
A heated political and legal debate has ensued over who wields the decisive power in this instance: the President or the Council of State.
A subsidiary question concerns what process, if any, must inform the “advice” of the Council of State in this matter.
But the former Supreme Court Judge believes “when the constitution uses such language acting in accordance with the advice of the council of state, in essence, it is the council of state which is making the appointment, because the expression shall act in accordance is mandatory and therefore in law at least the president is bound by the decision of the council of state.”
There is mounting pressure on the appointing authority to consult widely on who replaces Dr. Afari Gyan. Already there is pressure mounting on President Mahama to broaden the scope of consultation on who becomes the next EC boss.
The New Patriotic Party(NPP) 2016 presidential candidate, Nana Akufo Addo just recently called on the President to consult widely before the appointing a new Chairman of the Electoral Commission.
Addressing students at University of Cape Coast (UCC), Nana Akufo-Addo stated that the appointment of the new Electoral Commission boss requires vigorous consultation.
“In many many other jurisdictions across the world, whoever successfully emerges as the Head of the Electoral Commission is put through a rigorous selection procedure which includes wide stakeholder consultation, vetted by a committee often in public and finally approval by a special majority…I will respectively urge the President to abide by the constitution and allow the council of state to do its work openly and transparently,” he stated.
The Minority Spokesperson on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Joe Osei Owusu earlier made similar calls.
In backing calls for greater transparency in naming a new EC boss, Joe Osei Owusu who is also the Member of Parliament for Bekwai earlier said both the President and the Council of State will serve Ghana’s democracy very well if they open the process to carry along all stakeholders.
The head of the United Nations Office for West Africa UNOWA, Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas however disagrees, Dr Chambas insist the appointing authority should just go by the dictates of the constitution and not complicate the process by heeding to calls for broader consultations.
But the former Supreme Court judge in an exclusive interview with Citi News’ Raymond Acquah maintains there is nothing wrong with calls for consultations “anybody who says that there should be wide consultations is right and just echoing something which behind the scenes happens in any democracy.”
He however believes that “it is the responsibility of the council of state to do the consultation” and then present a rank ordered list to the President.
The man who set-up the electoral commission in 1968 also stated that the establishing consensus with all the stakeholders is critical to the conduct of successful elections in 2016. “What I want to emphasize is the consensus aspect of these appointments.”
Source: Daily Guide
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