Former Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Justice, Martin A.B.K. Amidu, has raised issues with the composition of the Elections Steering Committee established by the Electoral Commission (EC) to supposedly ensure smooth and peaceful elections on November 7, 2016.
The inauguration of the 18-member committee by the Chairperson of the EC, Charlotte Osei, has been a source of a raging controversy relating to claims that some of the committee members are known loyalists of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC). This has led to the resignation of one of them – Dr Karl Mark Arhin – a card-bearing member of the party who was its Deputy Director of Elections and International Relations.
Members of the committee were drawn from various state agencies, including the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), National Service Scheme (NSS), National Peace Council (NPC), Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), Ghana Police Service and others.
But in a statement, Citizen Vigilante – as Amidu is fondly called – indicated, “There were and are very objective reasons why each of the institutions to which objection was raised should not be on a Steering Committee of the Electoral Commission.”
According to the man, “The Commission on Haman Rights and Administrative Justice, the National Media Commission, the National Commission for Civic Education and the National Peace Council as independent constitutional and statutory bodies, will be compromised, should their members or Executive Secretaries serve on the committee of another independent constitutional body, specifically charged with the conduct of the elections.”
He asked rhetorically, “Would the framers of the Constitution not have added the mandate of ‘collaboration with the Electoral Commission in the conduct of elections’ to their respective functions if it was intended that they should partner the Commission in supervising elections in Ghana?”
Even though he expressed disappointment in the Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA), Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG and some individuals who have questioned the appointment of the supposed NDC members onto the committee, he insisted, “The Electoral Commission has no constitutional mandate to set up such a Steering Committee to share its electoral functions with it.”
That, he said, is because “The Electoral Commission has held several elections without inviting representatives of other independent constitutional and statutory bodies to partake in the constitutional functions entrusted to it.”
He therefore wondered why it has now resorted to the establishment of the said steering committee, which basis has been questioned by the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC).
“It is my hope that the independent constitutional and statutory bodies will do the proper thing in withdrawing their representation from the Steering Committee on constitutional objective grounds and not on the grounds of the subjective, dangerous, speculative and unproven allegations being peddled around,” he emphasized.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu