Public discussion on EC boss replacement not out of order – Baako

Editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper is of the view that the current public discussions on who should succeed outgoing Electoral Commission chair Dr Afari Gyan are not out of order.

He said as far as the law does not frown on discussions being made on the issue no matter how “noisy or ugly” they are there is nothing wrong with it.

Speaking on Peace FM’s morning show, Kwaku Baako said the discussions being held show a certain level of consciousness and commitment to the exercise.

Without this, the country’s democracy will look like one that has been generated from a cemetery and that is not what the country fought for, he noted.

Dr. Afari-Gyan is expected to embark on a statutory retirement as he turns 70 this year. This will leave his seat at the EC vacant; hence the need for a new chair.

In respect of this, political parties and civil society groups have called for the selection of someone who can properly fit into the position.

Although article 70 (2) of the 1992 constitution states that “the President shall, acting on the advice of the Council of State, appoint the Chairman, Deputy Chairmen and other members of the Electoral Commission”, the selection of a new Chair has generated so much controversy, with most people saying that the President should not be involved the process.

The fear is that if the President is allowed in the process he might select someone who will favour the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) during the general elections in 2016.

But the veteran journalist says because the constitution stated that the new chair should only be appointed “on the advice of the Council of State”, the President’s power of appointing the Chair has been diluted to a very significant degree by the use of the word “advice”.

Although it doesn’t completely take away the powers of the President, “it looks as though there is a shared responsibility with the weight moving a bit in favour of the Council of State because of the “advice”, he added.

The most important thing to do now, in his view, is how to operationalise the provision stated in the constitution based on the role on each of the parties based on the issue of “advice”.

Mr Baako said several questions must be asked, especially as to whether the president is obliged to accept or reject any name that is presented to him or the Council of State is expected to compel him to accept what they provide.

He believes that failure to build an acceptable consensus might necessitate a legal action to interpret what the provision really means.

In all this, the security and stability of the country and how to consolidate the democracy on a consensual basis rather than on a partisan basis should be seriously considered before any appointment is made, he said.

He advised that for the interest of all to be served, the Council of State should welcome all contributions and engage all stakeholders in the selection process.

Meanwhile, some four names have emerged as potential successors to Dr Afari Gyan.

They are the Chairman of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry that inquired into the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Justice Senyo Dzamefe, who is also a Court of Appeal judge; the Executive Director of the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), Dr Emmanuel Akwetey; the Deputy Chairman in charge of Operations at the EC, Mr Amadu Sulley, and the Executive Director of the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Professor Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi.

Story by Ghana | | Naa Sakwaba Akwa |

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