A senior research fellow at the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) says the call for the three Electoral Commissioners to step aside are in the best interest of the EC.
Kwesi Jonah says IDEG’s calls were hinged on the operational continuity of the EC as it goes through the crisis.
“If you look at the calendar ahead of the EC, there is so much to do. Already the big political parties are going to conferences to elect their chairmen and they have to organize the elections for them,” he said on Joy FM's Ghana Connect programme Friday.
There is the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) which will be organizing its conference in August with the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC)’s also coming up soon.
Also, there is the district level election to organize in 2018 plus a number of referendums on the president’s request.
“Unlike in the past, the EC has a load of things to do but now there is the crisis to think of. The way things are going, if we don’t shore up the capacity of the Commission and allow the crisis to linger on, will they be able to undertake all these? Mr Jonah quizzed.
The country was shocked last week Thursday with a 27-point petition pregnant with allegations of misconduct against the EC Chair.
The petition which was to trigger the full impeachment processes under Article 146 of the Constitution, partly described the EC Chair as incompetent, corrupt, fraudulent and autocratic.
The petition, signed by a private legal practitioner, Maxwell Opoku Agyemang stated among others, that the Chairperson of the Commission in many instances breached the Procurement Law in procuring goods and services for the Commission.
In what the petitioners claim to be a one-woman show, Charlotte Osei was alleged to have unilaterally and without recourse to procurement procedures engaged the services of lawyers, Sory@Law who represented the Commission in the pre-election legal banter with aggrieved parties and disqualified flag bearers.
She was also alleged to have abrogated an existing contract with Super Tech Ltd. (STL), unilaterally renegotiating and re-awarding the contract at the new sum of $21,999,592 without serious regard to the tender processes.
“The chairperson, Mrs Osei unilaterally awarded a contract of about $25,000 to a South African company Quazar Limited to change and re-develop the Commission’s Logo under the guise of rebranding without going through tender contrary to the Public Procurement Act,” point 26 of the petition read.
Events took on a new twist when Mrs Osei's responses to the claims against her triggered further allegations against her by two of her deputies, Georgina Opoku Amankwaa and Amadu Sulley.
In a related development, Mrs Osei has proceeded to court with a suit against Mr Opoku Agyemang.
She is seeking damages from the court against Maxwell Opoku Agyemang, who on behalf of the unnamed workers of the Electoral Commission petitioned the president to remove the Chairperson of the Commission over stated misconduct.
In a suit on Monday, July 24, 2017, and intercepted by Myjoyonline.com, the lawyer for the EC Chair, Thaddeus Sory, said the claims contained in the petition which was publicised both in the social and traditional media were false and defamatory.
Considering how there is bad blood between the Chair and her two deputies, Mr Jonah believes it is time they step aside for an interim chair to take over.
“If at the end of everything there is no wrong doing on the part of any of them, they can come back to their jobs,” he said.
Contributing to the discussion, Shamima Muslim Alhassan a media practitioner wanted to understand what ‘stepping aside’ means.
She said since the petition for impeachment has already been forwarded to the president, who has also forwarded it to the Chief Justice to see if she can establish a prima facie case against the three to be suspended stepping aside does not matter anymore.
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