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General News of Thursday, 14 May 2015

Source: The Al-Hajj

Dr Akwetey, Mrs Opoku, Alhaji Sule out of race for EC chair

As the search for a successor for outgoing Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan reaches its climax, flawless information picked by The aL-hAJJ indicates that the Council of State will shut the door in the hunt at the Executive Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs and two deputy Chairpersons of the EC in charge of operations and administration respectively.

Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey, Alhaji Amadu Sule and Mrs. Georgina Opoku Amankwah are among three others reportedly shortlisted for consideration by the Council of State to take over from Dr. Afari Gyan.

The outgoing EC chair, Dr. Afari Gyan, who has been on terminal leave since December 2014, is expected to officially retire in June, having reached the mandatory 70 years as stipulated in the 1992 constitution.

This latest development on the widely discussed issue narrows the searchlight on the three remaining persons, amongst which include the Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education, Mrs Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei; Justice Senyo Dzamefe and Justice Alhaji Saeed Kwaku Gyan, both justices of the Court of Appeal.

According to our reliable source, the three remaining shortlisted candidates left in the race for the coveted post are being scrutinized by the Council of State to determine the most suitable to take over from Dr. Afari Gyan.

However, intelligence reports reaching this paper indicate that Mrs. Kesson-Smith Osei enjoys wide support of the majority of the membership of the Council.

Even though lobbyists have swung into full gear to get Dr. Akwetey nominated as the next EC boss, information gathered by The aL-hAJJ indicates his ongoing "family issues” has dented his chances before the Council of State, hence the decision to erase his name from the shortlisted candidates.

Sources at the seat of government also disclosed to this paper that though President John Mahama’s obvious preference would have been Dr. Afari Gyan’s next in command, Alhaji Amadu Sule or his colleague, Mrs. Georgina Opoku Amankwah to continue with 'tradition' or precedence, but after listening to varied opinion of Ghanaians, there was a general consensus to pick a candidate outside the EC.

Although Ghana’s 1992 constitution, article 70, is explicit on what should be done in the appointment of a chairman and/or deputies of the EC, opposition parties and some civil society groups have been whining over how the President intends to carry out his constitutional mandate.

According to the NPP and some civil society groups, there must be ‘broader consultation’ involving all key stakeholders in the appointment of the next Chairman of the commission.

The appointment of the Chairman of EC is regulated by 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.”