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Opinions of Saturday, 16 December 2017

Columnist: Alhassan Salifu Bawah

Is the chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) above the laws of Ghana?

Article 44 (2) of the Constitution 1992, states that the Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC) shall have the same terms and conditions of service as a Justice of the Court of Appeal.

As a result of the above provision, the removal of the Chairperson of the EC must follow the procedure laid down for the removal of a Justice of the Court of Appeal as provided under Article 146 of the Constitution 1992.

Article 146 (1) provides that, a Justice of the Superior Courts or a Chairman of the Regional Tribunal shall not be removed from office except for stated misbehaviour or incompetence or on the grounds of inability to perform the functions of his office arising from infirmity of body or mind.

Article 146 (2) goes further to state that, a Justice of the Superior Court of Judicature or a Chairman of the Regional Tribunal may only be removed in accordance with the procedure specified in this article.

What is the procedure?

The answer is provided under Article 146 (3), where it is stated in plain English that, if the President receives a petition for the removal of a 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.

A petition was received at the Presidency and duly forwarded to the Chief Justice by the Office of the President in satisfaction of the above Constitutional provision.

The Office of the Chief Justice has determined after its preliminary investigations, that there is a prima facie case.

Six (6) out of the twenty-seven (27) allegations leveled against the Chairperson of the EC gave rise to Article 146 (4), to be triggered.

This Article provides that, 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.

This is the stage we are at the moment regarding the allegations against the Chairperson of the EC, and the call by the petitioners for her removal from office.

Can Amaliba, Jacob Allotey, and all the other incompetent, ignorant-cum-inefficient empty NDC noisemakers, tell reasonable Ghanaians which of the above or any other Constitutional or relevant law (s) of Ghana, that has been violated?

Let me remind this bunch of ignoramuses who can't think far that in November 2015, the Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Ms. Lauretta Lamptey, was removed from office in accordance with the above Constitutional provisions, since the CHRAJ Chairperson's position has the same terms and conditions of service as that of a Justice of the Court of Appeal, just like the Chairperson of the EC's terms and conditions of engagement, also being same as that of a Justice of the Court of Appeal.

Why didn't Amaliba and his cohorts cry foul, when Article 146 (4) was triggered by Ms. Lauretta Lamptey of CHRAJ?

The usual bad faith from the NDC and its bunch of empty barrels.

No wonder the Mahama administration was characterised by unconstitutional decisions at the highest level.

With characters like Amaliba parading as 'lawyers' around Ex President Mahama during his reign, why wouldn't he unconstitutionally write to various public universities governing councils whose mandate had expired to continue functioning?

The recent legal brouhaha at the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), emanated directly from Mahama's unconstitutional actions arising out of his catastrophic failure to reconstitute basic tertiary institutions governing councils.

No amount of scare-mongering or propagandist statements from the NDC 'cockpit', are going to distract the current President, in the discharge of his Constitutional mandate conferred on him by over five million (5m) Ghanaians on 7th December 2016. President Nana Akuffo Addo is a 'live goat', and cannot, therefore, be pushed by individuals with symptoms of "dead goat" syndrome, into acting unconstitutionally.

The Chairperson of the EC, has every right (natural justice), to appear before the Committee and provide evidence to the contrary, in respect of those six (6) allegations, clear herself, and keep her job. So what is the problem with these NDC hoodlums?

'Kaveini'!! Haruna Iddrisu may attempt to interpret that for non dagombas, that is if he still has any reasonable sense of direction left in him.

Alhassan Salifu Bawah
(son of a peasant farmer)