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Opinions of Monday, 3 June 2019

Columnist: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

Really no boost to Charlotte Osei’s poor caliber as Ghana’s Electoral Commissioner

rs. Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei, Ghana rs. Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei, Ghana

It is pro-forma or a sheer formality and too pedestrian to read much into it one way or another. I am here, of course, referring to news reports that Mrs. Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei, Ghana’s former Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, has been appointed an International Elections Commissioner to Afghanistan (See “Charlotte Osei Appointed UN International Elections Commissioner” / 5/27/19).

As far as it can be ascertained, Mrs. Osei will be serving in the status and capacity of an “expert elections observer.” She is not going to play precisely the same central role that she played when in 2014, or thereabouts, then President John Dramani Mahama broke with constitutional protocol by transferring Mrs. Osei, laterally, from her post as Commissioner for the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to the post of Electoral Commissioner or Chairperson of Ghana’s Electoral Commissioner (GEC).

Her brief assignment to Afghanistan is ironic, when seen from the perspective of the very person who had previously named Mrs. Osei to the post of Ghana’s Electoral Commissioner, who has been widely reported by the media recently to have cast doubts on the integrity of the outcome of the 2016 general election, in which then President Mahama massively lost the Presidency by more than one-million votes. What this means is that even President John Dramani Mahama does not believe that his own handpicked EC Chairperson had been competent enough to have conducted a free and a fair election. In recent weeks, Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, the longest-reigning General-Secretary of Ghana’s main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), has also expressed sentiments strikingly similar to that of the 2020 Presidential Candidate of his own party.

There is one salient dimension to this innuendo; and it devolves on the leadership competence and integrity of former President Mahama himself. According to recent news reports, Mr. Mahama has been claiming that the 2016 general election had, somehow, been hacked by the main political opponents of the then-ruling Mahama-led National Democratic Congress, namely, the Akufo-Addo-led New Patriotic Party. Now, the preceding accusation is rather fascinating, in view of what Ghanaians just recently learned at a press conference hosted by the newly appointed Electoral Commissioner, namely, Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa, former Director of the leading think-tank by the name of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), that, indeed, since 2011, when the Rawlings- and NDC-appointed Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, was the helm of affairs at the EC, both the password and the authority of calling the results of Ghana’s general elections had been scandalously ceded to the foreign-based Biometric Machine Contractor.

What this means is that at least by 2011, Dr. Afari-Gyan, who had been at the helm of Ghana’s Electoral Commission for some 19 years, had effectively surrendered his statutory responsibility for calling the results of all major elections in the country to a foreign-based contractor, even while Dr. Afari-Gyan got fully paid for a job whose most significant aspects he had practically ceased to perform. Now, what the preceding means is that if any individual or establishment could legitimately be accused of compromising the integrity of Ghana’s 2016 general election, that criminal culprit was the Mahama appointee or appointees who had initialed the contractual agreement with the foreign-based Biometric Machine Contractor who literally signed off Ghana’s democratic Sovereignty, in classic neocolonialist fashion, to the foreign contractor of Ghana’s voting machines.

It is also quite obvious that Mrs. Osei, who had taken over the leadership of Ghana’s Electoral Commission from Dr. Afari-Gyan sometime in 2014, had clearly not been alert and competent enough to have demanded or ensured the prompt restoration of the country’s criminally lost Sovereignty. Now, this is what Ghanaians really need to be talking about, and not the patently irrelevant subject of whether the naming of Mrs. Osei by Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, as an International Observer of the Afghan elections, being presently run, is a practical and/or authoritative endorsement of the competence and integrity of Ghana’s first female Electoral Commissioner.

As usual, some scandalously unenlightened and pathologically partisan Ghanaian citizens appear to have gratuitously interpreted the momentary or brief one-time appointment of Mrs. Osei as an UN-sponsored International Elections Commissioner to Afghanistan as betokening her unimpeachable competence as Ghana’s Electoral Commissioner. No such pathologically diffident assessment of our national self-worth and integrity could be more pathetically erroneous.

*Visit my blog at: Ghanaffairs

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York