Let’s introduce term limits for electoral commissioners, deputies – Inusah Fuseini

Inusah Fuseini
Inusah Fuseini

Alhaji Inusah A.B. Fuseini, a former Chairman of the Legal and Constitutional Committee of Parliament, says time has come to review Article 44 of the 1992 Constitution to introduce term limit for Electoral Commissioners and their deputies.

Article 44 of the Constitution states that; 1) A person is not qualified to be appointed a member of the Electoral Commission unless he is qualified to be elected a Member of Parliament.

(2) The Chairman of the Electoral Commission shall have the same terms and conditions of service as a Justice of the Court of Appeal.

Making a case on why review of the 1992 Constitution must be considered, the former lawmaker said: “Article 44 of the Constitution, which is also on the Electoral Commission puts the commissioner and the deputy on terms similar to the Judge of the Court of Appeals, similar to the Judge of the Court of Appeal, and so I propose that there should be a term limit for the Electoral Commission.”

Calls for a partial or complete overhaul of the 1992 Constitution has intensified in recent times.
Mr Fuseini said there was no doubt the 1992 Constitution had served the country well as it had ensured political stability for the past three decades.

However, he explained that, after 30 years of existence, there was the need for it to be looked at to meet the current developmental needs of the country.

He said even though a complete overhaul of the constitution might be a radical move, certain provisions of it required an amendment.

For instance, he noted that, it was time the appointment of commissioners were looked at, proposing an amendment of Article 43, to ensure that appointments of EC commissioners were made on the advice of the Public Services Commission.

He said: “Now, the Electoral Commission is appointed by the President on the advice of the Council of State. The Electoral Commission is a public office. The appointment of the President on the advice of the Council of State has resulted in trust deficits for the Electoral Commission.”

He added that: “I believe that we can cure this. We should cure it. We should cure it by amending article 43 of the Constitution to read the electoral commission appointed by the President on the advice of the Public Services Commission, with the prior approval of Parliament, by a two-thirds majority.”

“The two-thirds majority requirements inserted in my proposal will also ensure that we have a bipartisan consensus in Parliament. We have a bipartisan consensus in Parliament. Lack of bipartisan consensus has been the bane of the attempted or aborted amendments that have come before Parliament.”

“When Kenya was confronted with the situation of an electoral commission they could trust, they gave that responsibility to the Public Services Commission, who caused publications to be made, adverts to be made, inviting applications for the position of electoral commission of Kenya. Interviews were conducted,” he said.

Mr Fuseini, who is also a former Member of Parliament for Tamale Central, called for a complete deletion of Article 71, as it was inconsistent with Article 17 of the Constitution which dealt with non-discrimination.

“All officers under Article 71 are public officers and so, there should not discrimination between article 71, officeholders and all other office holders. So, I think that the independent emolument committee as recommended by the Constitution review committee shouldn’t be looked at and substituted for the arrangement in article 71,” he said.
He also reiterated calls for a capping on the number of judges a President could appoint to the Supreme Court at a time, proposing a maximum 15 judges.

Madam Brigitte Dzogbenuku, a Presidential Candidate of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) in the 2020 elections, proposed five major areas for amendment including the separation of the Attorney General from the Minister of Justice, strict enforcement of the Public Asset Declaration Act and preventing Members of Parliament from holding ministerial positions.

On asset declaration, she said public asset declaration should be the minimum requirement for holding any public office, adding that, that would help in the fight against corruption.

She also called for an end to ministerial appointments from Parliament to allow for effective operation of checks and balances, between the Legislature and the Executive.

She also called for a complete decoupling of the Attorney General from the Ministry of Justice, to ensure fair delivery of justice, especially corrupt government appointees.

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