Who Succeeds Afari Gyan?

Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Dr. Emmanuel Obliteifio Akwetey, Georgina Opoku Amakwaa and Sulley Gariba

The search for a successor to Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, current Chairman of the Electoral Commission, when he retires next year, appears to be on as names have been dropped for possible appointment for the position.

There are indications that the inevitable retirement of Dr. Afari-Gyan before the next general elections in 2016, would see the appointment of Dr. Emmanuel Obliteifio Akwetey as his successor.

Dr. Akwetey is currently the Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), an independent non-profit policy research and advocacy organization.

It is also alleged that Dr. Sulley Gariba, Senior Advisor to President John Dramani Mahama, has been lobbying to get the IDEG boss to become the next EC Chairman.

Dr. Akwetey is said to have had a good rapport with the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the past, having worked with late President John Evans Atta Mills while the latter was Vice President to ex-President Jerry John Rawlings.

But when contacted via telephone last Tuesday, Dr. Akwetey said, ‘I don’t know anything about this, honestly. It’s been circulating around all over. Many people have been asking me; I don’t know anything about it, and I don’t know if that is the procedure.’

According to the clearly ruffled governance expert, he had caught whiff of the rumour and underscored, ‘…Strangely, people call and talk, but I think it’s just a cynical thing. Don’t take it any seriously.’

This paper asked whether he would consider the job if offered to him, but he declined to make any comment on that, saying: ‘I don’t know… how can I comment on something I don’t know?’

He re-emphasized, ‘I am not talking about it. I told you I have heard rumours; I don’t know where it’s coming from. Nobody has talked to me about anything. I find it strange that if somebody wants me to do [some] work, it rather goes round the world and you don’t know about it; I don’t know but I think it’s some cynical thing.’

Another name that has popped up as likely candidate to succeed Dr. Afari-Gyan is Ms. Georgina Opoku Amankwaa, who was appointed as the new Deputy Chairman of the Electoral Commission mid last year. She took over from Mr. Safo Kantanka, who retired last year.

But according to DAILY GUIDE sources, she did not stand a chance against Dr. Akwetey.

The name of Sulley Amadu, Deputy Commissioner in charge of operations, has also come out but he had been linked to a series of activities of the ruling NDC government ahead of the 2012 elections when he was Director of Research of the EC.

Bowing Out
Two weeks ago, Dr. Afari-Gyan dropped a hint that he would not be in office to supervise the 2016 general elections.

‘I’m retiring next year way before the next general elections will be organised,’ he told participants at a consultative forum on public elections regulations [C.I.75] in Kumasi.

Dr Afari-Gyan would be 70 years old by June 2015. At that age, he is required to retire from his position. However, the EC boss was forced to drop the hint of his retirement after a participant, Rev. Fr. Patrick Osei-Poku from the Catholic Secretariat of the Kumasi Archdiocese, had suggested that the EC boss should seek retirement before the next elections.

According to Rev. Osei-Poku, Dr. Afari-Gyan should relinquish his post ‘for the admission of errors during the election petition and the mistrust people have for him.’

The reputation of Dr. Afari-Gyan has been sullied by the fact that he superintended the 2012 general elections that were marred by serious irregularities which led to an eight-month long legal battle instituted by the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and two others at the Supreme Court.

The EC had admitted that the last elections were marred by ‘unforgiveable’ irregularities.

Dr. Afari-Gyan, born June 18, 1945 at  Anyimon  in the  Brong-Ahafo Region http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brong-Ahafo_Region , was in 1992 appointed Deputy Chairman of the Interim National Electoral Commission by the then  PNDC http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provisional_National_Defence_Council  government, which was ruling the country as a military  junta http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anyimon . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_junta

With the coming into force of the Fourth Republican Constitution, a new Electoral Commission was put in place and Dr. Afari-Gyan became its first substantive chairman and had remained the electoral body’s boss to date.

By Raphael Ofori-Adeniran

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