New chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei, has indicated her preparedness to champion electoral reforms that would enhance the image and credibility of the country’s electoral system.
‘We will work hard to continue the process of internal reforms and ensure a more effective and collaborative service delivery platform and thereby increase the confidence of all our stakeholders in the institution and in Ghana’s democracy,’ she said during her swearing-in as chairperson of the Commission at the Flagstaff House yesterday.
President Mahama administered the oath of office to Mrs Osei, who has been moved from her position as the chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE). She happens to be the first female to take up the EC top job.
She takes over from Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan who retired sometime in June this year after several years as chairman of the Commission.
Mrs Osei assured, ‘It is my hope that together with my colleagues at the EC, we will continue to build and strengthen the structures towards a stronger, more independent, objective and impartial commission.’
In that respect, she said, ‘I am counting on all members of the commission, the management and staff of the EC and the entire nation.’
The new EC boss said she was well aware of the weight of expectations placed on her shoulders and would fall on the experience and cooperation of her other commissioners to succeed.
She also indicated her readiness to learn from the experience of her predecessor, Dr Afari-Gyan.
President Mahama charged the new EC boss to be mindful of the fact that she was taking a position that brings along a lot of pressure from various quarters.
‘While congratulating you on your appointment to what is a rather tough position, let me remind you with all humility that you are stepping into some very big shoes,’ he underscored.
‘Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan has proven over the last two decades or so that he is a colossus when it comes to elections and electoral systems and has, despite whatever grievances we as politicians might have expressed against him either in government or in opposition, distinguished himself creditably and contributed immensely to the stability of our democracy,’ he said.
The president therefore tasked her to tap into the advice and support of her predecessor to successfully execute her duties.
Present at the short ceremony were leaders of the various political parties with members in Parliament, including national chairmen of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the People’s National Convention (PNC), Paul Awentami Afoko and Ahmed Ramadan respectively.
The rest were the chairperson of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Samia Nkrumah and a vice chairman of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Lee Ocran.
Mrs Osei, a lawyer with considerable experience in public service management and institutional reform, also has expertise in corporate law, banking, insurance, project financing and public-private partnerships.
She holds a Masters in Law (LLM) from Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada and a Masters in Business Leadership from the University of South Africa, Pretoria. She obtained an LLB (Hons) from the University of Ghana in 1992.
She was earlier nominated to the Supreme Court but was rejected more than once.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu
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