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Opinions of Sunday, 8 July 2018

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

Did NDC really boycott NPP’s 2018 Delegates Conference over Charlotte Osei’s dismissal?

Apparently, I listened to the NPP’s 2018 Delegates Conference on radio and heard the representatives of the various political parties delivering their solidarity messages, except NDC. I thought I was dreaming, but I was not. I was wide-awake. There was no representative from NDC. I wondered why?

Whilst I was disappointingly mulling over the NDC leadership’s unpardonable omission, the news spiralled through that some loyalists of NDC protested vehemently at the NPP’s conference in Koforidua over the removal of the chairperson of the Electoral Commission. How bizarre?

Upon receiving the vineyard news of the gleeful NDC protesters, I asked myself: ‘did NDC leadership fail to attend NPP’s conference because of Charlotte Osei’s removal?

In fact, I do not want to believe that the higher echelon of the NDC failed to attend the NPP’s conference out of resentment over the removal of the chairperson of the Electoral Commission.

But then again, if that was to be the case, then the critics have been proven right on their suggestions of the NDC apparatchiks irrevocable vindictiveness.

Dearest reader, please tell me, if not sheer spitefulness, what else would prompt the unfortunate boycott?

In fact, some of us are finding it extremely difficult to comprehend why the same NDC worrywarts did not oppose Mrs Lamptey’s impeachment by former President Mahama in 2015.

More so the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, to be precise, Article 146 provides steps or measures that need to be taken in order to impeach a Justice of the Superior Court or a Chairman of the Regional Tribunal.

“(3) If the President receives a petition for the removal of Justice of a Superior Court other than the Chief Justice or for the removal of the Chairman of a Regional Tribunal, he shall refer the petition to the Chief Justice, who shall determine whether there is a prima facie case.

“(4) Where the Chief Justice decides that there is a prima facie case, he shall set up a committee consisting of three Justices of the Superior Courts or Chairmen of the Regional Tribunals or both, appointed by the Judicial council and two other persons who are not members of the Council of State, nor members of Parliament, nor lawyers, and who shall be appointed by the Chief Justice on the advice of the Council of State.

“(5) The committee appointed under clause (4) of this article shall investigate the complaint and shall make its recommendations to the Chief Justice who shall forward it to the President.”

In the case of the chairperson of the Electoral Commission and her two deputies, the Committee found them guilty and recommended their removal from office.

Article 146 (9) thus obligates the president to dismiss any guilty party without discretion, fear or favour.

Obviously, President Akufo-Addo acted within the law when he referred the separate petitions brought against Charlotte Osei and her two deputies to the Chief Justice to determine whether there was a prima facie case.

In that regard, President Akufo-Addo could not have erred by referring the petition brought against the Electoral Commissioners to the Chief Justice for determination of a prima facie case.

The crucial question however is: if for argument sake, President Akufo-Addo had ignored and withheld the petitions issued against the Electoral Commissioners, wouldn’t he then had violated the Constitution of Ghana?

Clearly, the petitions went through due process, thus some of us cannot fathom how and why any group of people can carelessly threaten the peace of the country because of their parochial interests.