Just last Monday the 13th of April, 2015 I wrote a piece under the heading ?Can president Mahama?s hands be tied??. In that piece, I raised issues with the calls on the president on the need to widely consult before appointing a new chairman for the Electoral Commission.
All of a sudden, people from no where are joining the discussions and almost trumpeting the same message of wide consultations.
It baffles me that people who pride themselves as being proponents of the rule of law would begin behaving this way.
That which is more unfortunate is that, Nana Akufo -Addo who was widely projected as a man who fought for the restoration of the rule of law could, all of a sudden be engaged in the RULE OF CONVINIENCE.
Where does he fit in all of these consultations he is calling for? As an interested party in the 2016 elections which a chairman is being sort to superintend over, can he be seen to be fair in his calls for an independent person to chair the commission? Would his very appointment to that commission be considered as a wise decision then? Whom would he recommend be appointed as chairman of that commission?
Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo, the lawyer he is said to be, ought to know better before going public on this issue. It is obvious he was behind the earlier comments made on this matter by other people in an attempt to test the waters before jumping into the fray. But, I must say his timing is wrong and the comments, unnecessary.
Article 70(2) of the 1992 Constitution states ?The President shall, acting on the advice of the Council of State, appoint the Chairman, Deputy Chairmen, and other members of the Electoral Commission?. Akuffo Addo the lawyer does not know that the consultation is between members of the Council of State on whose advice the president acts? Where does it state consultation outside the dictates?
Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo was a key member of government when Kuffour appointed four (4) out of seven (7) deputy chairmen of the Electoral Commission. He may want to tell us the wider level of consultations done then. Has the National Democratic Congress not contested and won elections after those appointments? What is the NPP and Nana Addo afraid of?
What exactly is Akuffo Addo?s fear in all of these? He spoke of credibility and sighted that Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan was his room mate for three (3) years at the University of Ghana. How did he know him? I remember before the 2012 elections in which he was gravely defeated he expressed confidence and indeed stated that he knew after the elections, his three-year room mate Dr. Afari Gyan would declare him president. What has charged? Is this not the biggest of hypocrisy anyone can point to? He meant to tell me Afari Gyan would have been credible only if he had declared him? Who else can be credible than one who does not look in the face of friends to act on the back of principles?
Liking this to the above, president Rawlings appointed Afari Gyan who superintended over the 1996 elections which he won. The NDC was not dissolved thereafter. Indeed Rawlings remained the founder of the NDC and yet, the 2000 and 2004 elections were declared against his party. What again qualifies one to be credible?
Why does Akuffo Addo think his fortunes to political power lies in the hands of an electoral commissioner? Is there any fear in connection with some beliefs that he could not win any free and fair elections but one through foul means? Is that to confirm the voice on the tape which contained contents to the effect that people were made to vote as many as 70 times in NPP strongholds to the extent that even police could just ask that they had voted enough? Is there any fear then, that a new, strong, principled and intelligent commissioner would work to seal those loopholes making things rather difficult for him?
In recent times, Akuffo Addo had acted as a parallel president in a country that has a duly elected president. We read a statement he issued on the Xenophobic attacks in South Africa. It is emerging that his facts were wrongly gathered, an indication that he had misfired. It is a clear indication that Nana Addo does not fully appreciate the fact that President Mahama is the legitimate president of Ghana. What is his locus in international affairs as opposition member in a country whose president had spoken? An attempt to sow seed of division in this country? Can we be surprised if he brings a name as the NPPs preferred candidate for the position of EC Chairman? Even that, with his latest outburst, should we not demand a name of a credible commissioner that he would be ?comfortable? with?
Is Nana Addo telling me that his preference should be a non registered voter who cannot vote before he would be convinced of his neutrality?
In any case, what exactly is the interest moving the NPP and Nana Addo if not to create grounds, fertile for another rejection of the 2016 elections as defeat stares them in their faces?
It is inherent to note, that, the constitutional provision that gives the president the mandate to appoint a new commissioner was not inserted in the constitution today. Indeed, that clause is as old as the 1992 constitution which is in its 23rd year. The people of Ghana voted in a referendum and accepted the constitution as their working document which spells out the principles of good governance whose adherence gives the rule of law.
That same provision was what Kuffour used upon the advice of his Attorney General whom an sure was Akuffo Addo, to appoint the deputy commissioners onto the commission. The same constitution empowered the president to appoint the Chief Justice we have all accepted.
Why must the songs be different today when no one knew who would have been president at the time such an appointment must be made?
We cannot accept the constitution in part when it favours us, and ignore other parts when it goes against us. Indeed, no law is pleasant. Admitting its difficulties and striving hard to live by its dictates is what we call RULE OF LAW. Working in part and refusing the other is what we call RULE OF CONVINIENCE. We are not ready for the latter as it would have meant an overthrow of the constitution.
Nana Addo and his team may want to proceed to the Supreme Court for an interpretation. He must not forget that the Supreme Court equally draws its powers from the same constitution that gives equal powers to the president and the Council of State members.
If it has gotten to the point that as a result of what you are seeing in your travels around in relation to schools, hospitals, roads, water, and other social services you feel the end has come to bid farewell to power, please, this is not the way to do it. Just throw in the towel as in a boxing match and we shall accept your sincerity. If, in any way, you want to carry through to the end, Nana, you are not the president, you have no mandate in the constitution apart from abiding by it, wait and watch the man with the power of the constitution act on his mandate.
Let the noise cease here. It would change nothing. The law is clear on this matter. Until the law changes, that is what we have to live with. The president is intelligent enough and knows what is good for this country. He would act on advice and in wisdom to safeguard the democracy we have built this far.
Source: Stephen Kwabena Attuh, ASK!