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THE APPOINTMENT OF THE EC CHAIRMAN, ARE WE AT OUR USUAL BEST?

 The president had appointed a new Chairman for the Electoral Commission in  accordance with Article 70(2) of the 1992 Constitution which 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."

Again, the 1992 Constitution spells out the qualification for any individual who can be appointed to occupy such an important office. 
 
In view of this, the president had acted upon the advice of the Council of State by appointing Mrs. Charlotte Osei as Chairman of the Electoral Commission. 
 
Mrs. Osei, until her appointment as Chair of the Electoral Commission was the Chairman of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), another institution created by the constitution of the country. She replaces Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan a man of conviction who headed the Commission since 1993. He superintended over the elections that elected Flt. Lft. Jerry John Rawlings in 1996, the election of John Agyekum Kuffour in 2000 and 2004, John Evans Atta Mills in 2008 and John Dramani Mahama in 2012.
 
Democracy is such an expensive venture. If well practiced, it inures to the benefit of the citizens. Democracy requires patience and tolerance, and the moment these components are lost, the citizens take arms to defend their rights making the people the ultimate sufferers of such practices.
 
The Electoral Commission is one vital institution in safeguarding our democracy and our forward march in its practices. However, that is just one out of the many stateholders who play a role in the chain of democratic practices.
 
The sanctity of such an institution must be preserved at all times. It is understandable that we hear some opposition on any individual appointed to such an office. However, that must be done within the confines of reasoning and on the basis of facts and not on the back of attacks and wild allegations that have no basis whatsoever.
 
Even though some individuals have spoken in favour of her, there are those from the opposition New Patriotic Party who think the weapon to see the commission down is to concoct stories about her, with some making comments I cannot dare repeat in this piece. 
 
I have always respected women for what they have always been. They remain intelligent and astute. We battle them academically and sometimes end up defeated by them. Why must we present our women who attain greater heights in life as people who have had to compromise themselves for such appointments? That is a cheap position at getting at innocent people who have achieved in their lives.
 
The Electoral Commissioner remains one out of seven members of the Commission. The Chairman of the commission does not work alone. In any case, the electoral commission does not manufacture election results.
 
If, on the day of elections, polling stations have recorded votes which have been duly certified by the representatives of the various political parties which have contested the elections causing the commissioner to declare a winner, where is the crime of the commissioner who was not available at the polling stations?
 
Elections are won and clearly so, at the polling stations. If results collated eventually reveals that results other than the true results were declared, that is verifiable at all times. But, dreaming of victory without any concrete steps to sell a message and to monitor elections at polling stations cannot be blamed on someone who declared results so obtained which have been duly certified.
 
Yes, individuals would always head institutions. They would finish their term and leave while the institutions remain. It is about time we begin creating confidence in our institutions which would force individuals who are appointed to head them live up to its status. We have created doubts in our institutions for far too long. The earlier we abandone such backward posturing that serves no one's interest, the better it would be for us. How can we begin creating doubts in the ability of a person to perform her task when she had not even taken office? 
 
Our expectations on her must be measured within a context. She would not operate alone. She would work with a team. Her duty remains to take overall responsibility of the commission. But the fact remains that she is a human being who requires the support from the people she would work with. Their collective efforts is what is required at moving the commission forward.
 
The larger society has a very important role to play. Declarations by some individuals such as "Let My Vote Count" that without a new voters' register there would be no vote is one such calls that must be disregarded in our society if we believe in building institutions. This is someone who has not taken office yet. She has not had the opportunity of reviewing documents left for her by her predecessor. Why then must the issue of a new voters register be pushed on her? 
 
What we require is allowing strutures in the electoral process to work. We kept cleaning the voters register every election year upon one protest or the other. What kept the register we cleaned severally unworthy of trust? Can't we see there is something fundamentally wrong with us going through the same circles every time election approaches?
 
The political parties have always been involved in the electoral process at every stage. From registration of voters, through to the day of printing ballot papers, to the day of voting, counting, and declaration. Why then is the motivation of the NPP in the constant complaints over the election process? The Electoral Commission, in their quest to ensure maximum participation and to represent transparency, have decided to establish a multiparty group called Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) which constantly engages with the commission on positions that are ment to be undertaken in the electoral process. Indeed, all electoral reforms undertaken by the commission were done at the instance of the political parties. 
 
If we are to go with confidence as a people, we must begin to respect institutions we have created. We must have trust in the competence of one another. We must give everyone conditional positive regard until otherwise proven.
 
The expertise on subtly aligning the said woman to the NDC is needless. At the time the 1992 Constitution was drafted, no one knew president Mahama of the NDC would  be in power to appoint an EC Chairman. What matters is the ability of the appointed Chairman to execute her task to the admiration of all. Her predecessor was appointed under the NDC but declared elections against the NDC when the people had spoken. She will declare the virdict of the people when they do speak.
 
Laws are strengthened when they are applied when the time has brought the opportunity to do so no matter who is involved. Let us allow our institutions to work. That is the legacy we can provide for our younger generations. 
 
God bless our homeland Ghana
 
Written by:
 
Stephen Kwabena Attuh - ASK