Pratt backs Mahama on EC chair appointment

Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper says he does not understand why President Mahama’s appointment of Charlotte Osei as Commissioner of the Electoral Commission is being questioned.

Kwesi Pratt said it would have been impossible for the President to appoint the Commissioner without the imput of the Council of State.

Speaking on Radio Gold’s news analysis programme ‘Alhaji and Alhaji’, the veteran journalist said “those who say the president has violated the constitution are wrong”.

In any case “what in this appointment suggests that the President did not act on the advice of the Council of State, where is the issue?” he quizzed.

Mrs Charlotte Osei has been appointed at the new chair of the EC. She has taken over from Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan who has retired after being in that position after 20 years of service.

New Electoral Commissioner Charlotte Osei

Prior to Mrs Osei’s appointment, opposition political parties in the country called for broader consultations in the appointment of a new chair for the EC.

They said the consultation was essential to get all parties to accept the ultimate appointee.

Many also sought for a proper interpretation of the constitutional provision on the appointment.

A broadcast journalist, Richard Dela Sky in May filed a suit at the Supreme Court to “determine the true and proper meaning of constitutional provisions “in Article 70(2) and Article 91(3)of the 1992 Constitution that relates to the process of appointing an Electoral Commissioner.

However, before the court could rule on the suit, President Mahama has effected an appointment that comes as a surprise to the plaintiff and his Counsel, Alexander Afenyo Markin.

In a reaction to the appointment, Mr Afenyo Markin said “a big trap has been set for the Judiciary” whose eventual ruling will either challenge the president’s authority or confirm his powers.

Although he believes the action by the president “would not change the outcome of the matter” he is, nonetheless “disappointed” that the president seems to be in a rush.

He wonders why the President cannot “restrain” himself and “await a final determination” by the courts.

But Mr Pratt says nothing unconstitutional has been done by the President in the appointment of the new Commissioner.

He said the President cannot on his own appoint the Commissioner if he has not consulted the Council of State because “if he acted against the provisions of the law, he suffers impeachment”.

Mr Pratt said he is surprised that the argument that the president acted against the law is being pushed by persons who are expected to be well-versed in the legal provisions of the country.

He doubted if the new appointment will in any way interfere with  the ruling of the court.