President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Monday swore in some members of the Electoral Commission (EC) governing board, as well as the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) which have sparked concerns, as two of the appointees have been found to be card-bearing members of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) .
Rev. Akua Ofori Boateng, Salima Ahmed Tijani, and Dr Peter Appiahene, have been sent to EC, while Victor Brobbey, is now Deputy Chair of the NCCE, with Simon Ofori Ametepey and Bright Kwabla Agbodeka, being appointed as members of the NCCE board.
One of his appointees for the EC board; Dr Peter Appiahene, identified as lecturer at the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) in Sunyani, has been recognized as a staunch member of the NPP.
Simon Ofori Ametepey, who is now on the NCCE board, was NPP Vice Chairman at Mpraeso Constituency of the Eastern Region until his appointment. The Herald’s information is that Simon Ofori Ametepey, has since resigned from his position as Constituency Chairman.
Videos of Dr. Peter Appiahene have since emerged of him breathlessly defending the Akufo-Addo government policies. This has since created doubts about his impartiality or credibility in election matters, which are driven by passion, suspicion and heated arguments, and recent petitions to the Supreme Court.
Dr Appiahene, said to be an Assistant Professor/Senior Lecturer and Chair of Computer Science & Informatics Department of the University, has also been identified as a patron of the NPP’s Tertiary Students Confederacy (TESCON).
There are reports that, he has been under consideration for a political appointment, following Akufo-Addo’s 2017 swearing in.
His name came up in 2021 to be considered for the Bono Regional Minister position, together with Kofi Ofosu Boateng, the NPP Bono Regional Secretary, Yaw Maama Afful, former Member of Parliament for Jama South and Deputy Minister for Aviation, the 2020 Sunyani East NPP Parliamentary Candidate, Alfred Tuah Yeboah, currently the Deputy Minister of the Justice, Justice Awo Banahene, the Municipal Chief Executive of Sunyani West and Kwaku Agyenim-Boateng, MP for Berekum West and Deputy Minister of Railway Development.
Their appointment is in line with Article 43 (1 and 2) of the 1992 Constitution which states that, “there shall be an Electoral Commission which shall consist of a Chairman, two Deputy Chairmen, and four other members.
The members of the Commission, shall be appointed by the President under article 70 of this Constitution.
At a brief ceremony at the Jubilee House, the President administered the oaths of office, allegiance, and secrecy to all three persons.
Having come into office 21 months before the 2024 general elections and at a time when Ghana was seeking to entrench her credentials as a beacon of democracy in Africa, he told them.
“It is the quality of your work that will reassure the Ghanaian people that the democratic system of government that they have chosen for their governance will be properly nurtured by an electoral system that allows their voices to be plainly and loudly heard.”
“As you begin work, you will find no honeymoon period; neither will you be afforded the chance to settle into your new responsibilities. I have nevertheless, confidence in you and in your abilities to surmount the hurdles before you”, he stated.
He, however, reminded them that, “now more than ever, every decision you take will be scrutinised to the letter. That however, should not scare you and indeed, let no one try to cow you into submission.”
Rather, he said “let this expectation of the Ghanaian people spur you onto great heights and above all, work so that the will of the Ghanaian people is upheld.” he added.
President wants the EC to ensure that the election in 2024 is free, credible, and fair.
A credible election, according to Nana Akufo-Addo, will help Ghana consolidate its democratic credentials.
“It is no secret that I have spent most of my adult life trying to fight for the establishment of democracy and human rights in this country and I have always fought and advocated for credible elections in Ghana. In emphasizing the importance of the credibility of elections, it must be pointed out that the counting, collation and declaration of the results, cannot and should not be more important than the sacred God-given rights of the citizen casting his or her ballot.”
The President further charged that; the electoral management body should not be intimidated by pressure from political parties.
“Remember that now and ever, every single decision you take will be scrutinized to the letter. That, however, should not scare you and let no one try to coerce you into submission. On the contrary, let this expectation of the Ghanaian people spur you onto great heights and above all, work to ensure that, the will of the Ghanaian people is upheld.”
On their part, Dr Peter Appiahene on behalf of his two other colleagues expressed gratitude to the President for their appointment and to the Council of State for supporting their nomination.
“We are greatly humbled, honoured, motivated and we finally see this appointment as a sense of duty. We also accept this appointment in the symbolism of a fresh journey ahead of us to meet the high expectation of the various stakeholders especially the over 31 million Ghanaians”, was how he put it.
In recognition of the massive responsibilities and tasks that come with it, he gave their assurance that “we want to state that we are poised, prepared to deliver and to contribute to the development of our democracy, especially in this digital era.”
The EC is one of the governance institutions provided under the 1992 constitution. It was established by the Electoral Commission Act (Act 451) of 1992 and set up purposely to manage the conduct of all public elections and Referenda, to handle all matters directly related to the conduct of elections in the country.
The EC is currently chaired by Mrs. Jean Mensa, with Dr Bossman Eric Asare and Samuel Tettey, serving as her Deputies responsible for Corporate Affairs and Operations respectively.
In his acceptance speech, Brobbey expressed his gratitude to the president for appointing him and the two new members of the NCCE board.
He declared that he and his colleagues have no illusion about the enormity of the task ahead of them but are committed to meeting the obligation.
“We have been appointed at the start of what one can describe as the political season, and the presence of politics always complicates the task of the civic educator,” Brobbey said.
“Nevertheless, please be assured that we will work hard to justify the trust that you have reposed in us.”