EC digs in heels, LMVCA ratchets up pressure on ‘biased’ committee

The controversy over the Electoral Commission’s Steering Committee is not showing any signs abating any time soon.

The EC says the fact that one or two persons on the 18-member committee have been proven to be members of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) does not necessarily call the integrity of the committee into question.

It says calls for the dissolution of the Steering Committee are therefore misplaced.

But the Let My Vote Count Alliance which started raising questions about the composition of the committee says it is not satisfied that one member of the Steering Committee who has been proven to be a member of the NDC has stepped aside.

The group says the entire process must be looked at again.

Read the full statement of LMVCA below:
RESIGNATION IS NOT ENOUGH: EC MUST DESIGN A FAIR PROCESS TO RECRUIT AND POST ELECTORAL OFFICERS AHEAD OF 2016 POLLS

We are glad to read that the Deputy Director of the National Service Secretariat, Dr Karl Arhin who has been a well-known cadre and now an NDC activist has resigned his recent appointment to a newly composed steering committee of the electoral commission mainly because we blew the cover on his strong political activism. While we believe his resignation is good for the sinking image of the EC, we also acknowledge that the mere resignation of one man out of a group on a mission for a heinous plot is not good enough. The plot certainly does not end there.

We acknowledge that the decision by the EC to recruit national service personnel to work as electoral officers in the 2016 election is a positive one, we are however saddened by the fact that there can be a conspiracy to abuse such a noble thought meant to improve the integrity of the process. The sudden emergence of the so-called steering committee and the exposure of the likes of Dr. Arhin clearly betrays the intent of the electoral body.

If the EC was minded to doing a transparent work, the least it would have done was a comprehensive background check on the persons before their appointment. We do not for a moment believe that the appointment of the likes of Dr. Arhin was an oversight else what about the other NDC political activist appointed to serve on the same steering committee?

Can the Charlotte Osei led EC look into the eyes of Ghanaians and say the electoral body does not know about the political activism of Joseph Whittal, a Deputy Commissioner at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and Francis Azumah of the National Peace Council. Joesph Whittal is a former parliamentary aspirant of the NDC and Francis Azumah was recently a collation agent for the NDC. They certainly did not find themselves in those capacities accidentally. They played those roles then as they continue to play their roles now, simply because they are activist of the NDC.

The information we are picking from our sources within and without of the EC is unequivocal that Madam Charlotte Osei and the EC did not write to any institution asking for them to nominate and send representation to the bogus steering committee. Charlotte Osei and her team personally appointed persons from the various institutions who will serve the cause of their plot. None other than the person of the Chairman of the National Peace Council, Rev Professor Emmanuel Asante, has confirmed that they know nothing about Francis Azumah representing the Peace Council on any such committee because they have made no such nomination neither have they been written to, to make any such nomination. This should tell Ghanaians the real motive for the composition of that committee. We hope the Peace Council chairman will now see the need to visit Charlotte Osei to caution her on the slippery path she is tending to lead the country. Charlotte Osei should bury her head in shame because her connivance with the NDC is not a mere allegation but a fact that has been further exposed by these findings.

Should it take another press conference or statement from us to force a block resignation of the committee? And Ghanaians should not buy into the resignation gimmick. It does not end the plot that was hatched from the onset which has given birth to this strange committee. Clearly, even the unschooled and the blind can perceive the orchestration and connivance between the EC and ruling party to maneuver the electoral processes to their favor. Judging from the posture of the EC, it will appoint a replacement for Dr. Arhin whose activism might not be so obvious on the radar but certainly there to ‘play ball for the cause’ towards the original plot. This blatant unfairness is what we will not allow. Ghanaians must not allow this.

Again, the notion expressed by the NDC defeated parliamentary aspirant and current director of the National Service Scheme, Dr Kpessah Whyte that all Ghanaians necessarily have sympathies towards one political party or the other is untenable because having sympathies is not same as being an activist of a party. What the EC is doing is equal to recruiting activist of a particular party to decide the electoral process of an election in which that same party is also contesting. Where is the semblance of fairness in that? We do not recall that these appointments or recruitments were advertised by the Public Service Commission for people to apply and be shortlisted, so how were the members appointed? What background checks were carried out if institutions were only told to submit representatives?

If the EC insist that it must have political activist on its bogus steering committee, then it should make it open for all the other political parties to have representation on it and end the pretext of constituting a committee of independent persons.

Instead of focusing its attention of such a needless committee, the EC should be involving all the stakeholders in designing a robust and transparent system by which national service personnel will be recruited, trained and posted for the purposes of the 2016 elections. That to us is the crux of the matter. Nothing short of this will engender a much needed confidence in the process which has seen a worsening decline from Dr. Afari Gyan to Charlotte Osei.

With this kind of poor preparation from the EC towards the all-important 2016 polls, one cannot expect a hitch free election. It is still eight months away and time enough to make adequate preparations if we are minded to ensure a credible poll that all sides will have confidence in not just the results but the processes leading up to, then the EC must be made to sit up because it is sleeping.

……signed……
David Asante
Convener


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