A senior lecturer at the University of Ghana’s Department of Political Science has queried the appointment of Charlotte Osei as chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), describing it as “a bad precedence for Ghana.”
Speaking to DAILY GUIDE last Friday, Dr. Ransford Gyampo explained that transferring the head of any of the constitutionally guaranteed independent bodies such as the EC, National Commission On Civic Education (NCCE), National Media Commission (NMC) or Commission on Human Rights And Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), to another sets a bad precedence to be exploited by whoever forms the next government in the country.
Such a government, he noted, might decide to move the newly appointed EC chair from her current position “to the National Media Commission.”
Dr. Gyampo posited, “A new regime, when it feels uncomfortable with her, could decide to transfer her to the NMC or any of the constitutionally established bodies.”
Such persons, he explained, hold their positions till retirement and so it is a bad precedence to transfer them after their appointments to any of the other bodies.
Heads of these bodies, he continued, enjoy security of tenure “and can only be kicked out in cases of misconduct.”
Such a transfer as President John Mahama has just done, he said, “is a manipulation of the independence of these bodies and does not augur well for our democracy.”
It is a move he said makes the EC malleable, adding that “Article 70 Clause 2 is in court for interpretation regarding who appoints the heads of these bodies. Is it the president or the president in consultation with the Council of State?”
Reiterating that the issue is in court, he pointed out that “It is customary and a time-tested convention that when a matter is in court no action is to be taken on it.”
The late Larry Bimi, as head of NCCE, he noted, was not shuffled as was Emile Short when he (Short) was in-charge of CHRAJ. Justice Emile Short, he explained, returned to his post after leaving for some time. “This is unprecedented in our democratic history,” he stressed.
According to Dr. Ransford Gyampo, the president should have waited for the court’s decision. “This is an unnecessary affront on our judiciary. Why the rush? There is a way to prompt the court when a matter is being delayed. We cannot talk about strengthening public institutions when we disregard public trust,” he declared.
Source: Daily Guide/Ghana
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