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Opinions of Sunday, 23 October 2016

Columnist: Asonaba Kwadwo Nomafo

Bitter but better: Well done Mama Charlotte

Finally the wishes of many Ghanaians have come to pass so far as election is concerned in the 20th century of our democratic dispensation when electoral commission announced that, only four political parties could contest for the 2016 general election, a decision many Ghanaians over the years have been praying to happen.

The electoral commissioner, Mrs. Charlotte Osei after her assumption on her position has received lots of counter accusations from the various political parties over her actions and in-actions as the commissioner. Some believe her position was an honor given to her by her master (President) whilst many thinks she cannot work diligently as a commissioner and she being a woman might find difficulties in disfranchising her duties.

In July this year, Bitter But a Better decision was taken by the electoral commission when The Commission released the list of 56,772 persons whose names were captured on the electoral register using the National Health Insurance card as form of Ghanaian identification. The commission on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 announced that it had already deleted the names in compliance with the Supreme Court order and will give them the and the opportunity was given to them to re-register on Monday [July 18, 2016] if they are able to proof their Ghanaian citizenship.

The Ghana’s apex court as part of the ruling on July 5, also asked the Commission to ensure that such persons are not disenfranchised, but are properly re-registered and we all know that there was no court case afterwards meaning that, it was a bitter decision for the commission to do that but it has become a better decision for the country to have assurance in the commission because the issue of the NHIS registers was one of the subject that could have triggered misunderstanding before , during and after the election but the bitter later became a better one. Well done Mama Charlotte.

When Madam Charlotte Osei assumed office, her action caused me to write an article titled “The Adamant Mother” in the article, I attacked the woman for being adamant to pay attention to the voice of the people mostly the oppositions parties concerning the voter register but I can boldly tell you that the woman is Yaa Asantewaa of our time because even if the issued raised were true or false it has been practiced for so many years but commissioner showed that yes if it must be done, it must be done well.

Another bitter but better decision that I acknowledge was the filling fees, when the commission announced that, the Presidential candidates of the various political parties are expected to pay GHc50,000 to enable them file their nominations to contest in Ghana’s 2016 elections in December Whilst the parliamentary candidates would pay GHC. 10, 000. This decision also met with a blow from and right because some sections of Ghanaians think the commission does not need such amount of money for anything since it is being finance by the government. But to me I personally believe it was a good decision because the presidency is not just for a game and the serious ones must be ready to go by it rules and regulation.

How do I forget the most bitter decision of the commission that I see it now as a better decision taken concerning the change of the electoral commission logo...Hmm, I believe I have reminded you one of the day you got angry. The commission over the years has been accused of bias in it announcements. After the introduction of the new logo, many concerned Ghanaians are wondering why the Electoral Commission (EC) would throw away the current logo that mimics Ghana's Coat of Arms to choose an ‘Occultic Symbol’ that has this long historical pagan ties.

The Eight-pointed arrowheads at the center of the circle in the new logo dates back to the First Crusade in the 12th century. It was first used by the Knights Templar, the Knights of Malta, and the Order of St. John of Jerusalem among others. In 1813, during the War of Liberation against Napoleon, the symbol was revived by Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III and became an award for acts of heroism, bravery or leadership skills. These were some of the description Ghanaians historian gave to the logo which I think it has now gain grounds.

Anytime I see the logo I see the new face of the commission but I don’t see the occultic critics concerning the logo because at the end of the day it was a bitter but a better decision she had to make to give hope to the commission. Now I want Ghanaians to applaud Mama Charlotte and congratulate her for the bold decision taken to better the country although it is very hurting and bitter but better so far as our democracy is concern. The commission yesterday announced that the political parties qualified to contest for the election is only four wow!! Yes four (4) out of over twenty political parties. In fact this will reduce the burden of the commission and make things very easier and faster for the counting and declaration of the results.

Back to memory, in 1992 we had five (5) political parties who aspired in the presidential position, 1996, it was four political parties who qualified, in 2000, the political parties numbers increased to seven (7) whilst in 2004 we had four (4) parties, in 2008, Ghana recorded eight (8) parties and eight (8) parties recorded in 2012 Election.

As we all know the bitter but better decision Mrs Challotte Osei has qualified only three Political Parties and One Independent Candidate in the 2016 election due to the reason being that there was a lot of illegalities in their forms and double signing of individuals.

Those disqualified include flag bearer of the All People’s Congress (APC), Hassan Ayariga; Dr Edward Mahama of the People’s National Convention (PNC); Dr Agyenim Boateng of the United Front Party (UFP); Kofi Akpaloo of the Independent People’s Party (IPP); Kwabena Adjei of the Reformed Patriotic Democrats (RPD); and Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP).

The others include: Dr Henry Herbert Lartey of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP); Mr. Richard Nixon Tetteh (United Development Systems Party); Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings of the National Democratic Party (NDP); Thomas Ward-Brew of the Democratic People’s Party (DPP); Alfred Kwame Asiedu Walker, an independent candidate, and Akua Donkor of the Ghana Freedom Party (GFP). Imagining all these political parties were qualified to contest it would have affected the commission in so many ways and clearly, most of the presidential candidate being disqualified were not serious both their actions and in-actions.

With this I will say well done Mrs. Charlotte Osei, you have shown clearly that you deserve the position, now every Ghanaian is applauding you because you are a woman who thinks boldly like a man.

Let us all support the commissioner with our trust and believe that she can work as directed but also the commissioner should not feel too complacent and stay focus to work for Ghanaians as we also console the hearts of the disqualified political parties and congratulate the qualified ones. Long live EC, long live Ghana.