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Opinions of Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Columnist: Nuhu, Kashaa

Thievery Of The Asante-Akyem South EC Officer

Until last year, Ghana’s amateur democracy has been touted as quite sturdy and flaring from strength to strength attracting unwavering accolades from both within and without. Conspicuously, this high pedestal of our twenty years rule by the ballot is marred and tainted by some EC officials whose sole aim is to pile wealth to subvert the sovereign will of Ghanaians resulting into the contention of election 2012 at the Supreme Court of Ghana. These bad officials of the constitutionally mandated body responsible for conducting free, fair and transparent polls in the country must be flashed out to save the integrity of our Nation.

The district electoral officer of the Asante-Akyem South in the Ashanti region, Mr. Joseph Appia-gyei is one such bad nut who is at all times fervent and disposed to trade the genuineness of every election under his watch for cash at the mightiest expense of the constituents. The veiled and ill motive to cash in on every election is the driving force behind his clandestine looting of Presiding officers and polling Assistants whom the EC had temporally hired to supervise elections in the district.

You see, the Electoral Commission of Ghana has delayed in the payment of allowances of Presiding officers and polling Assistants after the December polls partly due to the negligence of many of these officials in the discharge of their duties which culminated in the hearing of a novel case between the standard bearer and two others of the NPP and the EC along side the President of Republic at the Supreme Court to ascertain the validity of the latter’s declaration of the former as the victor of last year’s elections. All hope on the allowance was lost lest the highest Court of the land will order a re-run or pronounce Nana Akufo- Addo winner of the 2012 polls.

Nonetheless, the funds were released to the various regional and district offices of the EC for its intended purpose. Beneficiaries in the Asante Akyem South district are outlandishly being robbed by Mr. Joseph Appia-gyei, the electoral Officer, of their hard earned and well deserved allowances. According to the information gathered, Presiding officers are entitled to GHC 100 where as polling Assistants take home GHC 70. These are the distribution of the allowances per head by the Electoral Commission of Ghana.

However, oily corrupt mouthed Mr. Appia-gyei has a different definition for the national distribution of the allowance per role of the officials in his district to lacerate the amount for his egotistic motive. Instead of a Presiding officer taking home a Hundred Ghana Cedis (GHC 100), the EC officer slashes Ten Ghana Cedis out of the total amount leaving ninety Ghana Cedis (GHC90) for the head of a polling station. The same way Five Ghana Ceds is deducted from a polling Assistant’s Seventy Ghana Cedis (GHC 70) parting with Sixty-five Ghana Cedis (GHC 65). These deductions do not constitute any processing or incur cost whatsoever but mere abuse of office and thievery on the part of the district EC Boss. As espouse in the bible “what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and lose his soul”

Suffice herein is the summative amount Mr. Joseph Appia-gyei is making out of, say a total of 500 electoral officials in the Asante Akyem South district. Let’s even consider an average of five Ghana Cedis (GHC 5) and multiply that by 500 Officials. That is a whopping GHC 2500 in just one dubious transaction. This is unacceptable in any society and a complete barbarism on the part of this rogue who cares less about his fellow human. Available reports indicate that, the EC Boss of the Asante Akyem South district takes money from individuals who apply to be temporally hired for the electoral job. It is believed that, this is a common and consistent practice of Mr. Joseph Appia-gyei since he assumed the office in the district way back in 2000 or beyond.

What is even more risible is that, most of these electoral officers are teachers who fear relegated and tagged down for future opportunity in the same capacity when they utter or register displeasure at the looting Mr. Appia-gyei and his ilk are heaping on them. According to officials who suffered this ordeal at the hands of the EC Officer, most of their colleagues who protested previously to Mr. Joseph’s behaviour were not included in last year’s exercise. This goes to confirm his hidden agenda and ill intention to compile wealth at the expense of these impoverish teachers who risked their precious lives and valuable time in the remotest areas to supervise the 2012 elections.

On a more serious and binding note, Mr. Appia-gyei must answer certain encumbrance and treacherous questions that remained unanswered. Asante Akyem South, specifically, the district capital Juaso, was mentioned in the election petition at one of the sittings of the Supreme Court. Could it be that, Mr. Joseph Appia-gyei, whose adoration for money can drive him to do anything vicious can be cited as one of those electoral officers who had corroborated with the NDC and John Mahama to rig last year’s election metamorphosing to the land mark case pending in our august Court?

What explanations can Mr. Appia-gyei, the district electoral officer give to the citing of his district capital Juaso, in the ongoing election petition? Is it possible his paymasters had a field day in other part of the district to commit various electoral crimes which are not detected by the petitioners because the region is believed to be the strong hold of NPP? Has he taken any money from the then candidate and President, Mahama and his party for any clandestine motive since he (The EC Boss) is the master of that art and has a track record of such since 2000? Will this villain survive if the “ANTOA” deity is evoked on his acts? These and many more are some of the troubling questions the Juaso district electoral officer must provide answers to.

Ghana’s electoral Commission must have high integrity and we can only achieve that when the likes of Mr. Appia-gyei and others who are out there to subvert and compromise the mandate and sovereignty of this country are cast out of sight. They must be pursued, apprehended, investigated, prosecuted and given maximum sentence to serve as a severe deterrent to other wrong doers in our institutions. Ghana must work in unison and offer no cover or excessive advantage to people who lead our nation. Ghana is the only country we have, let’s all give out our best to move it forward. “It is not about what you do but how much love you put in the doing”….His Royal Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie.

Kashaa Nuhu