General News of Friday, 6 July 2018
A former Director of Elections at the Electoral Commission (EC), Albert Arhin, has said he will see it as a call to national service if he’s appointed as the next Chairperson of the election management body.
“Well that will be a call to duty for my nation”, he told Class91.3FM’s mid-day news 12Live on Friday, 6 July 2018 in an interview, adding: “What is wrong with that?”
“If considerations are made that somebody should also be there and it is me who is to be there, what is wrong with it?
“I’m a national of this nation and I’ve served the country very well, so what is wrong with it? There’s nothing wrong with it”, Mr Arhin stressed.
Mr Arhin, who is currently the National Coordinator for the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) said emphatically that “yes”, he would grab the opportunity if it arrives, “but this is up to the government to decide, I’m not going to decide for myself, I can’t do that anyway, I can’t do that”.
President Nana Akufo-Addo is in the process of appointing a new Chairperson for the Electoral Commission following the dismissal of Mrs Charlotte Osei from that post along with her two deputies Georgina Opoku Amankwah and Amadu Sulley for breach of procurement processes and incompetence.
Their dismissal was based on the recommendation of an investigative committee set up by Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo.
Meanwhile, President Akufo-Addo has said he will appoint an apolitical person as replacement for the dismissed-Chair as well as the two other commissioners.
When he spoke for the first time on the dismissals on Saturday, 30 June 2018, at a town hall meeting with Ghanaians in Nouakchott, Mauritania, ahead of the conduct of the 31st AU Summit, the president said, as far as the replacement of the three is concerned, “We are not looking for persons who are coming to do a job for the NDC or for the NPP. We are looking for persons who are coming to do a job for Ghana. That is what we are looking for, for the Electoral Commission”.
The president stated that he had no choice but to act on the recommendations of the committee, adding that he is duty-bound to uphold the teachings of the 1992 Constitution.
According to the president, whenever a petition for the removal of a high-ranking public official, like the Chairperson of the EC is forwarded to the president, all the president has to do, as is stipulated in the Constitution, is to refer the petition to the Chief Justice, for the determination of a prima facie case or otherwise.
Once a prima facie case is established, the Chief Justice, in accordance with Article 146(4) of the Constitution, must establish a Committee to investigate the complaints. The Committee, in turn will make its recommendations to the Chief Justice, who shall, then, forward it to the President.
The Committee, the President noted, was composed of a Supreme Court Judge, two High Court judges, and two persons, who are neither lawyers nor Members of Parliament, and who were appointed by the Chief Justice on the advice of the Council of State.
“They [Committee] have been working over the last 6 months, and recommended that the Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Charlotte Osei, and her two deputies, Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwah, be removed from office on the grounds of stated misbehaviour and incompetence,” the President said.
He continued, “Article 146(9) of the Constitution demands that I act on the recommendations of the committee. I have no power to disagree with the recommendations of the Committee, the Constitution does not give me that power. That is why I have removed the Chairperson of the EC and the two deputies.”
Reiterating his commitment to building a country governed by the rule of law, the President indicated that the laws governing our country must not be a respecter of persons.
“I, as President, am bound to respect the laws of our land. If I go against the laws of the country, I will be dealt with. Likewise, if you also go against the laws of the country, you must be dealt with. It is sad [the removal of the three EC Chair and deputies], but this is how it must be,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo stressed that the process that led to the removal of Mrs Osei and her two deputies “was not borne out of hatred, or a deliberate orchestration to remove some persons from their jobs.”
The petitioners, he added, are workers of the Electoral Commission and not faceless persons, as some would want Ghanaians to believe. The President also recounted the publicly documented spat between the three former EC commissioners.