The National Democratic Congress has described the dismissal of the chairperson of the electoral commission, Madam Charlotte Osei as a dent on the country’s democracy.
According to the National Organizer of the Party, Kofi AdamS, NDC is still in shock by President Akufo-Addo’s decision which was made known in a communique signed by Information Minister Mustapha Hamid.
President Akufo-Addo, based on recommendations from a five member committee set up by the Chief Justice, Justice Sophia Akuffo removed Mrs Charlotte Osei from office together with her two deputies, Georgina Opoku Amankwah and Amadu Sulley.
Excerpts of the 54-page report issued by the committee noted that the EC Chair had breached procurement laws in the award of several contracts, prior to the 2016 elections.
For all the six allegations levelled against her, the committee found Mrs Osei culpable, and said her explanation that she was not aware that she needed to go through procurement for some of the contracts because the monies involved were from donor partners, is untenable.
The Committee further contended that “if procurement of goods and services was not part of the core business of the Electoral Commission as argued by Mrs. Charlotte Osei, why did she take over the above roles directly when there was a Procurement Unit with a Head in the Electoral Commission? We are of the opinion that Mrs. Charlotte Osei always knew that procurement was a very important part of the core business of the Commission, and that was why she personally took over the above roles.”
The report further noted that “on the whole, Mrs. Charlotte Osei’s persistent violation of the Public Procurement Act, showed misbehavior and in some instance incompetence as found in this report”
But reacting to the dismissal, Kofi Adams, who spoke to Afreh Kwakye Nuamah in an interview at the press conference organized by the party said the reasons were unjustifiable.
According to him, issues of procurement was not solid ground to have the EC boss removed from office.
“There are some institutions that are so critical to our democracy that if they do not fail to live up to their core mandate, you don’t take them on. An institution like CHRAJ is in charge of human rights so the petition against the former CHRAJ boss under the erstwhile Mahama administration was in line with the job and that is why the dismissal was not rejected by people. Clearly, I have had a chance to see the petition that was presented to the President and the justification they gave for him forwarding it to the Chief Justice was that he is just a conveyer belt, meaning that if he had the chance to personally put weight on the petition he would have thrown it away. Not knowing they knew what they were doing.
Those unjustifiable reasons were just to have the chair and her deputies removed. This has never happened in the history of the country. It has never happened. But then again what wrong did this people commit than to supervise the 2016 elections. They did nothing wrong and the issues that were raised in the report is not enough to have them removed. Considering the work of the electoral commission, should issues of procurement be the bases for their dismissal? No, we don’t think so. We think it is a political decision that the president has taken.
Speaking on other allegations leveled on Madam Charlotte Osei, Mr Kofi Adam said the accusations were not directly connected to the core mandate of the commission, hence judgement should not have been based on that.
“We have not been told if these accusation have been investigated because we all sit here and all kinds of allegations are thrown at us and we know it is not true. Some of us have been accused of having things here and there that we know is not true. In all this we will blame the president because that assertion that he is just a conveyer belt forwarding petitions doesn’t hold because he has petitions sitting with him that hasn’t been forwarded yet against other officers even against the Chief Justice herself.
This petition is more than four months old but he is sitting on it. So if he is picking and choosing which one to forward then I don’t think he is being fair.
Meanwhile, the party is set to stage a massive demonstration today in protest of the dismissal of Charlotte Osei and her two deputies. The demonstration is to demand to re-instatement of Madam Charlotte Osei, Georgina Opoku Amankwah and Amadu Sulley.
This according to the NDC is the only way to prevent the Akufo-Addo government from rigging the 2020 elections.