General News of Monday, 9 September 2013
Source: The Independent
"So far as I am concerned, Dr. Afari-Gyan has cut a very poor figure of himself, and the much acclaimed competent election administrator both nationally and internationally has evaporated into thin air once his portfolio has come under the close scrutiny of the Courts," Justice Jones Dotse has stated in his submission after the Supreme Court Verdict.
The above quotation seems to have cast a terrible slur on the professional integrity of the Electoral Commission Boss, who has a long experience in elections in Ghana and other parts of Africa.
Further dismissing the EC boss, Justice Dotse said taking a cue from Dr Afari Gyan’s testimony on the subject, and bearing in mind the wealth of experience Dr. Afari-Gyan should have gained since 1993, he was of the considered view that Dr Afari-Gyan could not entirely escape blame for the many infractions of the Returning Officers, Presiding Officers and their assistants and to some extent their printers.
According to Justice Dotse, his examination of some of the contentious pink sheets, which were identified and upon which some cross-examination had been conducted upon in court, has revealed that some of the Presiding Officers appeared to be illiterates and know next to nothing.
“They do not only have very bad writing skills, but cannot express themselves in simple language and even denote figures in words correctly. I will in this context blame the appointing authorities of such low calibre of staff,” the respected judge added.
The learned judge contended that the Electoral Commission Chairman, Dr. Afari-Gyan, could not escape blame and said his observation was that Dr. Afari-Gyan appeared to have concentrated his oversight responsibility at the top notch of the election administration, thereby abdicating his supervisory role at the grassroots or bottom, where most of the activities critical to the conduct of elections are performed.
He further observed that the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr. Afari-Gyan, in his evidence-in-chief, also lamented over the fact that all the presiding officers and their assistants, including even the returning officers, who all play very critical roles in the electoral administration are temporary staff of the Electoral Commission, who were recruited only some few weeks to the date of the election and given some form of training.
In this instance, he even appeared not to be conversant with some of the basic procedural steps and rules that are performed by his so called temporary staff, he added.
The judge also expressed unhappiness about the way the 2nd respondent handled the concerns of the petitioners before going to court
He observed that the petitioners were pushed to this court albeit prematurely by the indecent haste of the Chair of the 2nd respondent who took less than a day to address the concerns raised in the petition and asked the petitioners to go to court.
Justice Dotse was of the view that if the 2nd respondent had exercised a little bit of tolerance and discretion, which are hallmarks of the type of office which the Chairman occupies, the quick resort to this court may have been avoided.