Opinion: Opuni-Frimpong Is Dead-Wrong on EC Under Charlotte Osei – By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

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Charlotte Ama Kesson-Smith Osei, Ghana’s former Electoral Commissioner

The former General-Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) is entitled to his own private and individual opinion, as it were. What Rev.-Dr. Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong is not entitled to is the right to concoct his own set of truths and pontifically pass them off as facts, especially on matters regarding the systematic chain of events that led to the all-too-legitimate dismissal of Mrs. Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei as Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC).

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Indeed, were the ordained minister of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) serious about the lawful and efficient functioning of the EC, the first problem that he would have noticed is the fact that then-President John Dramani Mahama egregiously breached statutory and/or constitutional protocol when he capriciously transferred Mrs. Osei, the Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to the EC, in view of the fact that like members of the Supreme Court of Ghana, the country’s 1992 Constitution designates both the EC and the NCCE as “safe and permanent positions,” which simply means that the Chairpersons of these establishments and others of their kind and status are guaranteed functional independence and cannot be removed or reassigned at the whim of the President of our Republic.

Consequently, the then-President Mahama flagrantly violated the highest legal document of the land by transferring Mrs. Osei from the NCCE to the EC, which was a lateral move; in other words, Mrs. Osei was fundamentally not being promoted from a lower position to a higher position. But, of course, we all know the relatively seismic influence that the Chairperson of the EC has relative to the Chairperson of the NCCE. What is therefore clear here is that in literally riding roughshod over statutory protocol by transferring Mrs. Osei from the NCCE to the EC, Mr. Mahama had an ulterior motive or agenda. That ulterior motive or agenda may very well have had something significant to do with the deliberate rigging of Election 2016, in reciprocal favor of the man who appointed Mrs. Osei to the post. That dastardly attempt, of course, massively failed.

We also have the indelible testimony of the career General-Secretary of the Mahama-led and then-ruling National Democratic Congress, Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, who categorically stated on the very night that the extant EC Chairperson, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, called the results of the 2012 Presidential Election in favor of the executive incumbent, that the entire election had been rigged in favor of his boss, because electoral assigns or polling officials appointed by the Akufo-Addo Presidential Campaign to monitor the election had not been vigilant enough. It would even be later rumored that it was the Mahama election operatives who had shared their provender or food supplies with their New Patriotic Party (NPP) polling opponents. Even more curious and intriguing was Dr. Afari-Gyan’s rather bald and categorical admission before the Atuguba-presided Supreme Court panel that adjudicated the 2012 Presidential Election Petition that he could not tell the difference between what constituted either “overvoting” or “under-voting.”

So why could any voter trust that, indeed, his/her ballot had been counted by our Chief Returning Officer? We also ought not to forget that it was another leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), to wit, then-Chairman Jerry John Rawlings, who had appointed Dr. Afari-Gyan, devoid of the sort of “broad consultations” that the NDC leaders were recently demanding of the New Patriotic Party-sponsored President Akufo-Addo, in the wake of the latter’s very savvy appointment of Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa as the country’s new substantive Electoral Commissioner. Dr. Opuni-Frimpong also cheaply and tawdrily economizes with the truth when he so flippantly asserts that Mrs. Osei promptly followed through with the order from the Wood Supreme Court to promptly expunge the names of those who had used their National Health Insurance Cards (NHICs) to register to vote, a sizeable percentage of whom were not even bona fide citizens of Ghana.

The fact of the matter is that citizens and minor or small-time politicians like Mr. Abu Ramadan, Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia’s brother-in-law and a NADMO deputy, had to fiercely fight Mrs. Osei in the apex court to force her to do the right thing. There are other equally significant issues that could be discussed here but for temporal strictures. It can, of course, not be gainsaid that operatives of both the NPP and the NDC were equally guilty of registering underage citizens to vote. But what could be more criminal than the flat refusal of Dr. Afari-Gyan to revoke such felonious electoral breach, on grounds that at best these illegally registered minors could only be “persuaded” not to vote, not appropriately threatened with prompt arrest and rigorous prosecution, together with the reprobate political scam-artists who had registered them to vote?

You see, a highly educated cleric like Dr. Opuni-Frimpong is expected to come to our ongoing national dialogue on the credibility and integrity of our political culture with the same professionalism that one supposes attends the preparation of his sermons or homiletics. I sincerely don’t see how any responsible and politically and civically enlightened individual would want to waste her/his precious time sitting in front of Rev. Opuni-Frimpong in a Presbyterian church to be bombarded with pointless pontifical twaddle mischievously gussied up as informed analysis of scripture or the well-examined life.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com  Ghanaffairs

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