EC Boss misses out on Chatham House Award

General News of Tuesday, 19 December 2017



EC chairperson, Charlotte Osei

The hope of the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Charlotte Osei, to clinch the prestigious Chatham House Award has been dashed, as it (award) finds its way to Colombia, South America.

It is an honour to a person, persons or organisations for their contribution to the improvement of international relations.

The winner of the coveted award is voted for by members of the Royal Institute of International Affairs in the United Kingdom (UK).

The chairperson of the EC was nominated in April this year, a decision that did not go down well with some Ghanaians, both home and abroad.

Mrs Charlotte Osei’s nomination, according to the institute, was based on the EC’s conduct of peaceful and transparent elections in 2016, and also for consolidating further Ghana’s 24-year-old democracy.

A UK-based Ghanaian advocacy group – CENAB-UK – openly criticised her nomination, citing certain infractions in the 2016 general elections, which created some sort of uneasy calm among Ghanaians prior to the declaration of the presidential results.

The group therefore petitioned Chatham House through an email, giving various reasons why it thought Mrs Charlotte Osei did not merit the award she had been nominated for, as far as the 2016 elections were concerned.

This was acknowledged by Chatham House with a promise to look further into the criteria for her nomination.

In its petition, the group contended that Mrs Osei’s intransigent posture started before the elections when she vowed not to allow any significant reforms to take place in the electoral process in spite of all the good reformative suggestions made by the Supreme Court, Civil Society Organisations, opposition parties and religious organisations in Ghana.

CENAB-UK also contended that the reasons cited by Chatham House London to include Mrs. Charlotte Osei amongst other nominees, were flawed.

According to the petition jointly signed by one Peter Antwi Boasiako and others, it would be controversial to consider Mrs Osei for such an award among well-deserving nominees such as Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia – who formally ratified a peace agreement with the FARC rebel group to bring 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.

According to the petition, before Mrs Charlotte Osei took over from her predecessor, Dr Afari-Gyan, Ghana had conducted a number of peaceful and transparent elections to the admiration of the world, and had made tremendous improvements on its electoral processes since December 2000.

“With all these few instances and details available, we do not believe it will make a good prudential judgement to award Mrs. 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 petition charged.

Concluding, it said CENAB-UK recalled an instance of failed EC website, and the commission’s failure on the electronic and social media updates to the general public after the polls had closed 48 hours, thereby festering unnecessary rumours about the delayed results, which again increased the avoidable tension in the country.

Subsequently, Mrs Osei has been overlooked for the award and given to Juan Manuel Santos in recognition of his role in formally ratifying a peace agreement with the FARC rebel group and bringing an end to the armed conflict in his country.

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