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Opinions of Saturday, 22 June 2013

Columnist: Acheampong, Bright

The CHRAJ report on 2012 elections

: a tainted credibility and a naked intent.


It is worrying when an agency guaranteed and protected by the Constitution activates a function outside its mandate. But it becomes debilitating when a Commission with equal powers of that of an Appeals Court of Ghana and the head with a power as an Appeals Court judge enter into a gray area which has the potential to taint the image of the institution.

Leadership is indeed a cause and every other thing is effect. So the head of every parasatals of Government is positive or negative in outcome and results when leadership is a prime indicator. The report by CHRAJ on the 2012 elections can only be likened to pressure from above and half-baked delivery of a duty.
Ms Lauretta Vivian Lamptey, the current Commissioner of Commission for Human Right and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) though a lawyer, only bow to the Pressure of Civil Societies before resigning as a Board Member of Ghana Commercial Bank, though Article 222 of the 1992 Constitution and ACT 456 prohibit a Commissioner from occupying any Public position once in Office. If the State of Ghana Commercial Bank as at her appointment as the Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) is something to go by, then her managerial competencies was obvious from day one.
Am sure the immediate past Commissioner of CHRAJ, Justice Emile Short would certainly be amazed by the modus operandi in the discharge of the Commissions duties from the Human Rights and Anti-corruption perspective, particularly when the incident of Human right abuse and Corruption was high in 2012 and first half of the 2013.
CHRAJ owns websites sets out clearly the mandate of the Commission which is cardinal to the 1992 Constitution. It has the Human rights mandate prescribed by Article 218 (a),(c) and (f) and meant to protect the Universal Human right and freedom. The Ombudsman of Ghana mandate prescribed by 218 (a), (b) and meant to protect and promote administrative justice to ensure that Government and its officers are accountable and transparent, and the Anti-Corruption functions.
At least this year alone, there have been a lot of injustices, corruption and strangulation of the fundamental Human rights of the ordinary Ghanaian which has certainly not captured the attention and lenses of CHRAJ.
There has being cases where students of University has been brutalized by the Police on grounds of no Public gathering. Demonstrators denied of their Public order Act right though they satisfy the requirement to demonstrate as well as naked corruption and corruption perceptions by Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDA). All these, though falls within the jurisdiction of CHRAJ but Ghanaians are yet to see how they center and investigate some of the mentioned issues.Ceratinly issues at the Port, Asongtaba, GYEEDA which involves huge some of Ghanaian cedis is not so important to CHRAJ for them to investigate.
It is again useful to dissect the issues raised by CHRAJ and the analysis done dispassionately. An introductory reading by a layman cast doubt to the report and the credibility of the institution. It can only be described as Government interest-laden and Partisan-motivated.
The second paragraph of the report states that, ‘in the broad effort to enhance the credibility of the elections and maintain peace and stability in the country’ is the reason why they joined other Local and international observers to describe the Election 2012 as free and fair.CHRAJ should have known that a report from their end on the 2012 elections is not equal to the credibility of the elections, Peace and Stability of the Nation.
If not for propaganda purposes, what will make a dignified institution like CHRAJ with a report signed by the Commissioner on the 10th of December 2012 be released almost close to the end of the on-going Supreme Court case on the elections. I am of the believe that CHRAJ was coerced to release this report because of the on-going revelations of by the head of the colleague Commissioner at the Electoral Commission.
For CHRAJ to confirm in their report that there were irregularities and challenges, but were not significant enough to affect the outcome of the results clearly indicate the understanding of the issues that sent the Petitioners to the Supreme Court. A talk of voter disenfranchised, problems with biometric machines, late arrival of election officials, the machine inability to capture the finger of the potential voters is an irregularity per their definition but may not be a Statutory and Constitutional irregularities and violations upon which the Petitioners are calling for votes annulment at the Supreme Court.
The worse part of the report has to do with the Commissions constitutional jurisdiction. The Commission by law is not suppose to investigate among other things ‘A matter pending before the court of law’. The Commission has definitely taken the wind out of the sail of the Supreme Court. Though there has been some admission of what an irregularity in election is, the Supreme Court is yet to define, what a statutory and constitutional irregularities are, based on the categories captured in the Petitioner pleadings and consequently give a ruling on it as to whether it affected the declared final results.
For a commission with such a pedigree and structure and headed by a lawyer, it will only be disingenuous on its part to come out with such a ‘letter’ as a report.
Until the Supreme Court says otherwise, the President of Ghana is John Dramani Mahama. So what at all would be the foundation reason for Commission of Ghana to congratulate a President-elect and Members of Parliament-elect particularly when the report was released in June 2013.It cannot get so low than this.
I am by this calling on the Supreme Court to speak on this report particularly when their final-verdict responsibility has been taken from them and also help resurrect the dying image of the Commission as its critical and cardinal to nascent democracy.
The report by CHRAJ whether cursory or in-depth can only make clear the intent and cast doubt to the credibility of the once dignified institution of the state.
Bright Acheampong
Issued: 21/06/2013.