CENAB Petitions Chatham House Over EC Boss’ Award

Charlotte Osei

CENAB UK, a pro-New Patriotic Party (NPP) advocacy group based in the United Kingdom, has described the nomination of Charlotte Osei, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) for a Chatham House Award as flawed and undeserving.

On April 3, 2017, Chatham House London published on its website nominees for 2017 Chatham House Prize to be awarded by the Royal Institute of International Affairs of the UK.

The winner would be announced at a ceremony in autumn this year.

The EC boss was cited as one of the nominees for the award.

CENAB UK Advocacy Media Team, in a statement signed by one Peter Antwi Boasiako and others, said “the reasons cited by the London Chatham House to include Mrs. Charlotte Osei, who will receive the 2017 Prestigious Award if she wins among other nominees are flawed.

“We contend this for various tangible reasons as far as the 2016 general elections is concerned, the statement indicated.

It said, “As one of the well respected prestigious awards in the world, the Chatham House Prize is mostly awarded to a person, persons or an organization that is deemed to have made significant contributions to the improvement of international relations in the previous year.”

According to CENAB UK, it would be controversial to consider Mrs Osei for such an award among well deserving nominees such as Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia, for formally ratifying a peace agreement with the FARC rebel group and bringing an end to the war in Colombia, and Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary-General of NATO, for steering NATO through one of the most complicated periods in its recent history.

Before Charlotte Osei took over from her predecessor, Dr Afari-Gyan, the former Ghana EC Chairman, Ghana had conducted a number of peaceful and transparent elections to the admiration of the world, and had made tremendous significant improvements on its electoral processes since December 2000, it said.

Towards the December 2016 general elections, though very important reformative decisions were taken by the EC that improved on the general transparency, fairness and enhancement on the peaceful elections in Ghana on record, none of these important reformative ideas leading to decisions to improve the process was candidly initiated by the EC boss or by the institution of the Electoral Commission itself, it added.

“All instances of reformative ideas and suggestions leading to these great significant improvements on the electoral process were initiated by individual Ghanaian citizens and the opposition parties, most of which the EC overtly contested,” it added.

“Furthermore, in all cases, reformative decisions that were finally taken by the EC were foisted on the Commission by the Supreme Court of Ghana, and with compelling reasons for the EC to implement them.”

“Mrs. Charlotte Osei, in frangible posture, earlier before the elections vowed not to allow any significant reforms to take place in the electoral process for the 2016 elections. This was in spite of all the good reformative suggestions made by the Supreme Court, Civil Society Organisations, opposition political parties and Christian organisations in Ghana.”

“At one stage, the  EC was described by some opinion leaders as having lost focus on its mandate to ensure a peaceful and transparent elections, and was likely, if care was not taken, to plunge Ghana into chaos due to their stance, as political tension was considerably raising.”

According to the group, Charlotte Osei’s obstinate posture not to allow for a transparent process before the elections led to some street protests by Ghanaians.

One of such peaceful demonstrations, it said, turned violent when the Police brutalized ordinary Ghanaians, adding “in the process, one gentleman lost one of his eyes as a result of fired rubber bullets by the police.”

“With all these few instances and details available, we do not believe it will make good prudential judgment to award Mrs. Charlotte Osei with such a world class prize for only supervising. We think she is undeserving of this prize and entreat the management at Chatham House to reconsider its decision,” the statement said.

BY Melvin Tarlue