By Gifty Arthur
A group within the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has described as offensive and distasteful, the decision by President Akufo-Addo, to sack the Electoral Commission (EC) Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, saying the President is gradually joining the league of dictators.
The group, Coalition for Social Justice (CSJ) says the President’s penchant to major in minors by ousting institutional heads at the least opportunity, is worrying, especially in a young democracy such as Ghana’s.
It said for instance, the machination that went on at the Bank of Ghana (BoG) where it Governor and a deputy, were forced to resign, as well as the removal of the head of the Births and Deaths Registry, and now the EC, are clear “Bastardization of State Institutions by the Akufo-Addo-led government”.
At a press conference in the wake of the removal of the Electoral Commission boss on Tuesday in Accra, Convener, Sammy Gyamfi said ‘President Akufo-Addo is gradually becoming a tyrant in the League of the Jean-Bedel Bokassa and the Idi Amins”. He went on “Because, this conduct is unbecoming of a democratic society”.
In a submission themed “The removal of the EC boss: Travesty of justice, an attack on democracy and recipe for disaster”, Sammy Gyamfi said the grounds on which the President removed Mrs. Osei were legally bankrupt, absurdly harsh and politically motivated”.
According to the group, the plan to remove Mrs. Osei, was long hatched by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) while in opposition.
It recalled statements by it leading members like acting General Secretary, John Boadu, Deputy General Secretary, Nana Obiri Boahen, a nephew of the President, Gabby Asare Otchere Darko and Member of Parliament for Assin Central (MP) Kennedy Agyapong, who all threatened publicly that she would be removed after winning the 2016 general elections.
The young lawyer, said claims by the President and his surrogates that, he did nothing wrong, but was only implementing findings by the Chief Justice’s Committee, was a smoke screen or cover up to deceive uniformed members of the public.
“The assertion by the President and other NPP surrogates that the President is a mere conveyer belt and is bound to act upon every document he received under article 146 is untenable and unsustainable. It defeats commonsense and flies in the face of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Agyei Twum case particularly the decision of the venerable Ghanaian jurist, Professor Date Baah JCS case”.
The Coalition questioned, why the President on two occasions, refused to act upon similar petitions against former CJ, Georgina Theodora Wood by one, Ernest Obiri Lartey dated February 13, 2017 and another by the leadership of the La Traditional Area “For the removal of the current Chief Justice, Sophia Akufo dated February 22, 2018?
According to him, Mrs. Osei, was never found to have misappropriated funds, neither was there evidence that she personally benefitted in any of the contracts she awarded.
He said, the former EC boss, acted within the law as “She worked in consonance with the officers at the Electoral Commission in all cases”.
The group argued that, Mrs. Osei, is a victim of circumstance and pure political witch-hunt, because accusation being leveled against her, is a test neither the President nor the Chief Justice, can pass.
Sammy Gyamfi, said because the agenda to remove the EC, had been set in motion long before they assumed power, all the government had to do was to push an agenda to get some faceless individuals from the EC, one of whom has died, to send a petition which were undated and unsigned to the President for it to be forwarded to the Chief Justice (CJ), even though it was unlawful.
He said, because the government was bent on finding fault with Mrs. Osei, it set a trap by widening the scope of what incompetence and stated misbehavior are, so that she falls into it.
“When you look at the nitty gritties of this matter, you cannot help, but come to the conclusion that, some people set out to widen the scope of what constitutes, incompetence and the meaning of stated misbehavior.
They widened it so much that, they wanted Madam Charlotte Osei, to fall into that trap at all cost, and that is what they have done.
Even if you are sitting on your bed, you will fall in this one, because it is too wide and absurd and like we have demonstrated to you, even the President or the Chief Justice cannot survive this”.
Asked why the group was only speaking on issues concerning Mrs. Osei and not the two other Commissioners, Sammy Gyamfi said, it is because in the case of the two others, they have admitted misappropriation of funds, they have been directed to refund and transfer of votes.
He said in the case of Mrs. Osei, nothing of the sort happened and also, no faceless individual sent undated and unsigned petition to the President.
A member of the group and a National Youth Organizer aspirant of the NDC, Brogya Genfi, said their request to the President is to reinstate the EC boss, failure to which they will embark on series of demonstrations across the country and talks in markets, schools, church etc.
He said, they would be visiting installations, which may include the Flagstaff House.
Mr Genfi, said threats by the Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful that the police should standby and deal with them ruthlessly, would not deter them from going ahead with their plans.
The group gave Mrs. Osei, a 14 day ultimatum to seek redress in court, failure to which they, as a group, will head to the court.
According to him, they are not embarking on this action to defend the former EC boss, but are doing so to strengthen Ghana’s democracy and safeguard it peace.
It said, it would petition international bodies such as the Economic Communities of West African States (ECOWAS), Africa Union (AU), the United Nations, development partners and all foreign missions to bring pressure to bear on the government to rescind its decision.
Curiously, the Coalition asked, if President Akufo-Addo’s decision to promote two unnamed Court of Appeal judges, who were members of the CJ Committee, affected the outcome of the investigation in anyway.