I am not inclined to get involved in the ongoing fierce and nasty battle raging on the premises of the so-called Independent Electoral Commission, except to note with utter dismay and frustration that there is enough blame to go around all three branches of the government, namely, the Executive, Judiciary and the Legislature and then some, as New Yorkers are wont to say. And I wish that those undisciplined characters at the Presidency and the New Patriotic Party’s Kokomlemle Headquarters could keep their oversized lips shut and let matters take their natural and logical course. There is going to be an epic legal fallout, and I don’t think these party rats want to be caught in the middle of it. The EC’s melee also paints a pathetic picture about the at once gross and abject immaturity and a woeful lack of common sense and a proper appreciation of the revered concept of nationalism and patriotism among the current leadership of the country to the outside world or the so-called International Community.
You see, long before the current wrangling among the major administrators of the Electoral Commission took place, there was the critical, albeit patently bogus, question of “Branding” or “Re-Branding” of the identity of the EC, which nobody seemed to have had any problems with in the 20-odd years since Ghana assumed the stable – and some would say – enviable status of a constitutional democracy. I also don’t know who started this political farce called “Branding” that made the current Electoral Commissioner, Mrs. Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei, come to believe that unless the Electoral Commission was symbolically divorced from that corporate entity called the Democratic Republic of Ghana, somehow, the statutory institution charged with the conduct of all elections in the country could not function as well as conceived by the framers and drafters of our Fourth-Republican Constitution. You see, and I stand to be corrected, pronto, every statutory establishment in the country is obligated to carry the National Coat-of-Arms, including the motto: Freedom and Justice. And so how could the Mahama Flagstaff House, the Adjaho-presided National Assembly, or Parliament, and the Wood-presided Supreme Court of Ghana have stood mum while Mrs. Charlotte Osei single-mindedly played such morally depraved, arrogant, criminal and irredeemably idiotic game with some 30 million Ghanaian citizens and their leaders the way she did? Have we no coherent sense of our history, dignity, stature and the place of our Republic among the global comity of nations? I may be mistaken, but as of this writing, the only statutory institution in Ghana that does not carry our National Coat-of-Arms is the so-called Independent Electoral Commission; and former President John Dramani Mahama had better be summoned before both Parliament and the Supreme Court to answer why he allowed such a treasonous act to take place under his watch. Among the statutory institutions sporting our National Coat-of-Arms are the Ghana Armed Forces, the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Customs and Immigration, the Ghana Prisons Service…. The list is endless, but let me just add the Ghana Judicial Service and the Presidency. And so what really makes the so-called Independent Electoral Commission any different? This is where everything at the EC began to spiral downhill. I have read as much as sheer boredom would allow me, a remarkable chunk of the accusations and counter-accusations, incrimination and recrimination being bandied about and volleyed among the key operatives of the so-called Independent Electoral Commission. And the single underlying theme here is that of the Chairperson of the EC, Mrs. Charlotte Osei, has totally lost control of the institution that she has been modelling after her own whims and caprices, with the criminal complicity of former President Mahama and the host of the National Democratic Congress’ hoodlum pack of parliamentarians and party-machine thugs, and must be promptly let go! If she has not already initiated legal proceedings, then Attorney-General Gloria Akuffo had better get started. Indeed, the entire administrative staff of the Electoral Commission may have to be summarily dismissed or immediately redeployed elsewhere less sensitive within the Civil Service System, while those due for retirement are made to promptly proceed on leave prior to retirement. What is deafeningly clear here is that the entire administrative staff of the EC must be promptly reconstituted, if the integrity of this most cardinal of our democratic establishment is to be salvaged and maintained. You see, we cannot as taxpayers and bona fide Ghanaian citizens, sponsor such an irredeemably dysfunctional bevy of administrators who routinely use legal technicalities to take important decisions verging on the destiny of the country over each other’s head. Rather, we need a non-politicized covey of administrators who are more concerned about the integrity of the conduct of our democracy and far less fixated on administrative turfs, ideological showdowns and a contest of egos and personalities to healthily administer the affairs of the EC. I really couldn’t care less about whether Commissioner Osei has caused a shower to be constructed in her office suite or a king-sized bed to be fitted into the same, or whether my Akyem-Asafo relative – in case she happens to be also related to the Okine Family, including my maternal uncle Maj-Gen. Okine, part of the Nkronso royal family – hated the guts of the auspiciously retired Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan or not. I don’t miss that ODB (Old Dirty Bastard) one bit myself. But it is more than crystal clear that Mrs. Osei should not have been transferred from her parallel statutory coordinate post of Commissioner of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), as one expert in constitutional law cautioned an imperiously adamant President John Dramani Mahama about the same time that the "Ganger” native was attempting to play hardball with Ghanaian democracy.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
July 24, 2017