The Electoral Commission of Ghana is an independent body solely assigned to cater for all public elections in Ghana. It is headed by a seven(7) member officers. Act 451 which is the Electoral Commission Act of 1993 states that the commission shall consist of ;
• A chairman/chairwoman
• Two deputy chairmen and
• Four other members
All these together with other members of staff work at the Electoral Commission of Ghana.
Article 70(2) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and Act 451 of the Electoral Commission Act state emphatically that, “the president acting on the advice of the council of state appoints the Chairman, Deputy Chairmen, and other members of the Commission. This means that, the sitting or acting president of the country has the power to appoint an Electoral Commission Chairman who will see to the general elections of Ghana. However, the constitution has some constraints on the president to consider democracy, prudence, governance and history during his appointment.
Even though the mode of appointment of the EC Chairperson by the constitution has helped in some way, it is taking a particular trend that needs an outright redress.
Mr. Kwadwo Afari – Gyan was the first substantive Electoral Commission Chairman from 1993 to 2015. He became the EC Chairperson after the then Chairman of the PNDC, the late Jerry John Rawlings won the elections in 1992. Mr. Afari-Gyan saw through all the elections under the 4th Republic until he finally retired in 2015.
In June 2015, the former president of Ghana, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama appointed Madam Charlotte Osei as the new Electoral Commission Chairperson during his term of office. However, in 2016, His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo became the president of Ghana and in June 2018, sacked Mad. Charlotte Osei after an investigation which was set up by Justice Sophia Akuffo after several allegations of corruption and fraud against the EC boss and member.
The president then appointed Madam Jean Adukwei Mensah in August 2018 up to date.
Currently, the just ended 2020 general elections of Ghana is in court as the opposition party, National Democratic Congress has petitioned the court upon some alleged actions of the EC boss to force numbers for the sitting government over the presidential results.
The NDC perceives that since the EC Chairperson was appointed by the sitting president, then she aided in turning the presidential results in favour of Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo just as it happened with Mad. Charlotte Osei. It is arguably now, that when NDC comes into power, they will definitely sack the EC Chairperson Mad. Jean Mensah and make a new appointment.
Imagine the constitution was restructured for the appointment of Electoral Commission Chairman to be appointed by a neutral body, wouldn’t there be always a free and fair elections? If the mode of appointment is done by a neutral body or even as a result of voting, then it will leave these political parties powerless to appoint their own EC chair who they perceive to “favour” them by some margins in the general elections so as to retain their seats.
There is always a conflict of interest somewhere to try and help the sitting government to retain their seats. Even if the EC Chairperson does all his or her best to work neutrally for the country, the opposition party will still not be convinced of fair results when things don't go their way.
Food for thought!
Content created and supplied by: Cecey (via Opera News )