General News of Wednesday, 28 January 2015
Political scientist Kwesi Jonah has said that Dr. Kwadwo Afari Djan has distinguished himself as one of Africa’s most respected electoral commissioners and will be missed when he retires in June.
“Believe me or not, when Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan retires in June, I am sure a lot of Ghanaians will miss him. He has maintained the EC. The Ghana EC has a very good reputation on the African continent and the whole world for so many years,” Dr. Jonah said on Multi TV’s AM Show on Tuesday, January 27.
He said the reason why the man is criticized often and blamed all the time is because Ghanaians tend to personalize issues too much, forgetting that he was one of the seven Commissioners at the EC.
Explaining the work of the seven Commissioners, the political scientist said each Commissioner is responsible for a number of regions.
According to Kwesi Jonah, policy decisions of the Electoral Commission are taken by the seven-member commission not Afari Djan. He, therefore, cannot be held responsible for a collective decision taken by the E.C
“I find it totally disgusting that people should personalize election issues in this country…now people personalize, Kwadwo Afari Djan has done this, Kwadwo Afari Djan has done that…it is not good,” he told Hostess, Mamavi Owusua Aboagye.
Before Dr. Kwadwo Afari Djan was appointed the first Chairman of the Electoral Commission, he was deputy in charge of Operations of the Interim National Electoral Commission set up to organize the 1992 elections. He has since been in charge of five presidential and parliamentary elections.
The last election in 2012 ended up in Supreme Court after the New Patriotic Party (NPP) disputed the declaration of John Dramani Mahama as winner of that election.
The credibility of the EC was called into question and Afari Djan was called to testify in court. Although the Supreme Court upheld the E.C declaration, they were also unanimous in recommending reforms.
Nonetheless, Dr. Jonah believes that the Electoral Commission would have implemented reforms regardless of the Supreme Court’s direction.
“With or without Supreme Court decision, EC would have gone ahead to do reforms any way,” he pointed out.
Using electoral history as the basis of his confidence, he said reforms have been conducted after every election since 1992.
“The EC is very open to reform. These are not reforms that the EC just gets up to do…they are proposals from political parties and civil society organisations.”
The political scientist noted that reforms are a continuous process and should be expected after elections.