Politics of Tuesday, 4 July 2017
Even though the next general elections in Ghana is some 42months away, tacticians of the governing New Patriotic Party are mapping out strategies on how to extend the party’s stay in power beyond the 2020 elections through manipulation and implementation of the Representation of Peoples Act (ROPA), The aL-hAJJ can authoritatively report.
Sensing Ghanaians are so early getting disappointed and fed-up, and are therefore likely to vote out the NPP in 2020, the ruling party, this paper has gathered, have concluded that the surest way to secure a second term is to skew the election in its favour.
Party insiders have disclosed to The aL-hAJJ that the recently inaugurated 10 member committee by the party to provide a road map for the prosecution of the 2020 elections has recommended that, “every effort must be made towards the removal of the Electoral Commissioner, Madam Charlotte Osei, from office before the next elections”.
According to a source “Charlotte has been marked out as a possible impediment in the NPP’s quest to win the 2020 election. She will block any attempt by the NPP to rig the election. She will also prove difficult if we want to push for the implementation of ROPA…and because of this; they are planning to get rid of her from that office.”
According to the source; “Winning 2020 election will not be an easy task so we are fervently preparing for that. And one of the ways to make our win easy in 2020 is to push for the implementation of ROPA. With that, the election results can easily be manipulated…but rigging election itself is also not an easy task because some of the guys working at EC must be in support of it. And, considering how the NPP vilified Charlotte and even attempted to use the courts to block her appointment, she may not support any move to implement ROPA when she is not convinced that the implementation will not compromise the election results”.
Another source privy to the NPP’s schemes told this paper that “one of the ways to chase out Charlotte is to create an imaginary “crisis-situation” at the EC by pitching her against some of her colleague Commissioners… and I think we are making headway in that direction, as recent media reports suggest uneasy calm at EC… we are hoping it will lead to her exit.”
Last week, an NPP tabloid owned by President Akufo-Addo’s family, the New Statesman, reported on its front-page that the EC boss and two of her deputies are at each other’s throat over the former’s alleged non-involvement of others in decision making.
This accusation against Mrs Osei was strangely confirmed by NPP MP for Akwapim South and Deputy Local Government Minister, Osei Bonsu Amoah who said Parliament may intervene to resolve the impasse.
According to the MP, an obvious faultfinder of Mrs Osei, some officials at EC claim Mrs Osei unilaterally takes decisions for the workers and ensures that those decisions are enforced.
“Sometimes when you talk to the officials at the EC they tell you that all is not well. They tell us in private that the Chair does not consult them when taking decisions. There are a whole lot of issues, but the EC is an independent body and so you cannot just call them to ask them questions,” he said.
“I will also inform the Majority Leader in Parliament and if possible we will invite them to parliament and discuss the matter. If there is any problem we will see how we can deal with it so that it doesn’t affect their work. If it affects their work then the entire country will be in danger,” the Deputy Minister added.
Even before the NPP MP for Akwapim South and Deputy Local Government Minister, O.B Amoah made this claim, Majority Leader and Head of the Special Budget Committee of the House, Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu who also doubles as NPP MP for Suame in Ashanti region, was the first to put the claim in the public domain.
According to the Head of the Special Budget Committee of the House, “The general observation from the committee was that the commissioners are not on good terms. It cannot be good for the conduct of elections. For instance, when they appeared before us and we asked the whereabouts of the chairman, the deputy commissioner said: ‘My information is that she has travelled outside’ without informing the others. They don’t know that she is outside the country. The deputy commissioners didn’t know the whereabouts of the chairperson of the commission. It cannot be good for the image of the commission. That is why we are saying that we should find a way to resolve the differences amongst them because ultimately it will impact on the conduct of elections…” the minister in charge of Parliamentary Affairs said.
Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu added “there is a possibility of having a referendum next year to determine whether or not the election of DCEs should be by popular vote. The EC should be engaging in the non-election-related activities now. There are certain activities that must be initiated this year. We met them and they admitted no such preparation is being made and often they wait until the last minute and engage in quick-fix solutions. It’s not good for us.
“Next year is going to be an election year if we have to conduct the referendum. The ensuing year will be the year for the district assembly and then into 2020, so for three successive years, they are going to have elections, so they need to prepare but there is no reflection of that in the 2017 budget and it should be worrying to all of us. It is not good for the EC. They need themselves to recruit qualified personnel for the IT department. Most of them there don’t even meet the standard and they are pretending to be IT specialists,” the Suame MP stated
The NPP has since the appointment of Mrs Osei as a replacement of Dr Afari Gyan demonstrated their aversion for her. After an unsuccessful attempt at the Supreme Court to block her appointment, the NPP engaged in series of violent demonstrations to kick against almost all her initiatives.
The party had accused her of plotting with then President Mahama to skew the 2016 elections in his favour. NPP MP for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong and others denigrated her, insisting that she exchanged her body for the post.
Though none of these accusations and allegation levelled against her came to pass as she supervised one of the most credible elections on the African continent which brought the NPP to power; the party is still not at peace with her and wishes she is ousted from the Electoral Commission.
Unfortunately for the NPP, Mrs Osei’s position is one of the positions in Ghana that has the security of tenure, guaranteed by the constitution. The occupant of that post can only be removed from office after attaining age 70 or resigns from office and as the case maybe, impeached on stated grounds. The EC boss turned 48 on February 1 this year and as such has 22 more years to serve the election management body.
To further its plans of getting rid of her, sources say, the NPP is pushing for some Commissioners and officials at the EC to go against Mrs Osei and frustrate her “and that is what is happening now. If the accusation against her thickens and she is forced to resign, then we will have our way,” a source disclosed.