By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Folks, there is no ambiguity about the provisions of the 1992 Constitution that mandate the President of the Republic of Ghana to appoint the Chair of the Electoral Commission or others to serve there. Neither is there any cause for alarm regarding the constitutional mandate of the President to appoint the public officers needed to run the affairs of state.
So far, the Presidents that have ruled Ghana in this 4th Republic have performed such constitutionally mandated responsibilities without any hubbub. Why should there be any grumbling and complaining, especially in the case of the EC Chair?
Of course, when Jerry Rawlings appointed Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, hell didn’t break loose; and he has performed his duties with the highest level of commitment, conscientiousness and determination to move Ghana forward in terms of constitutional democratic governance. He will soon retire; and a replacement is needed.
All of a sudden, those not sure of their own political direction or those afraid of losing Election 2016 despite all the negative propaganda that they’ve unleashed against the Mahama-led administration have risen up in arms to protest loudly on rooftops to create the unfortunate impression that the President’s constitutional mandate has limitations.
It was the NPP camp that set the fire, stoked it with all kinds of make-believe lies, intimidation, and empty political rhetoric. They achieved nothing, even after strongly demanding that the President should meet with them (and other political parties) to determine who the next EC Chair should be. They are undaunted, though they are still hitting the brickwall and gnashing their teeth in consequence.
Their kind of rabble-rousing in this regard is unprecedented; but they will end up achieving nothing to change the dynamics. Once the Constitution is clear on who has the mandate to appoint the Chair of the EC, those with their heads properly screwed on their torso won’t lose any sleep. All they expect is that a replacement for Dr. Afari-Gyan will be announced soon to keep the EC in shape.
For purposes of emphasis, here is what is in the 1992 Constitution:
- Article 70 (2): “The President shall, acting on the advice of the Council of State, appoint the Chairman, Deputy Chairman, and other members of the Electoral Commission.”
- Article 91(3): “The Council of State may, upon request or on its own initiative, consider and make recommendations on any matter being considered or dealt with by the President, a Minister of State, Parliament or any other authority established by this constitution except that the President, Minister of State, Parliament or other authority shall not be required to act in accordance with any recommendation made by the Council of State under this clause.”
What at all is not clear about this simple language? And where were all these “nay sayers” when Rawlings appointed Dr. Afari Gyan, using the same constitutional provision?
For those still not sure of what the Constitution says, the way to the courtroom is their choice. One of them is a Richard Dela Sky (described as “a Ghanaian citizen”) who has filed a writ at the Supreme Court asking the court to interpret provisions of the 1992 Constitution on the appointment of an Electoral Commission (EC). (See http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomeP…/NewsArchive/artikel.php…)
Of all the reliefs being sought by this Dela Sky, the ones that turns my crank are:
- A declaration that upon true and proper interpretation of Article 70(2) of the 1992 Constitution together with Article 91 (4) of the 1992 Constitution, it is the Council of State that has the Constitutional mandate to initiate the process of appointment of the Chairman, the Deputies and other Commissioners of the Electoral Commission; And such advice on a suitable candidates(s) to be appointed constitutionally is binding on the President.
III. An order directing the exact procedures to be followed by the Council of State either suo motto or by prompting by the President in such appointments in the light of Article 70(2) of the 1992 Constitution.
This litigant doesn’t know what to do with his time and resources and is in court for nothing but the record books. Where does the Constitution lay the burden on the Council of State to initiate the process for the appointment of the EC Chair and public officers and for which it must have the clout to dictate to the President? What is too difficult about the “advisory role” that the Council of State is assigned, which this litigant cannot understand?
And for him to demand that the Supreme Court should issue “an order directing the exact procedures to be followed by the Council of State either suo motto or by prompting by the President in such appointments in the light of Article 70(2) of the 1992 Constitution” speaks volumes. It won’t happen!!
For purposes of reiteration, let me say that this suit fits into the NPP’s “Concert Party” agenda, much of which was on display during the useless petition hearing and which we will see a lot of henceforth. That is not to say that this Dela Sky is an NPP member. He could be anything at all, but his suit is ludicrous and will be dismissed by the Supreme Court.
I hope these litigants will go to court to challenge the constitutional provision that mandates the President to appoint the Chief Justice and justices of the Superior Courts too.
By refusing to participate in the processes leading to the drawing up of the 1992 Constitution, they did much disservice to Ghana and are now reaping the whirlwind from the wind of negative politics that they sowed. Lazy minds to be pooh-poohed!!
By June when Dr. Afari-Gyan retires, President Mahama would have given Ghana a reliable replacement to chair the EC. Let the “against people” sharpen their tongues and teeth for the wordy warfare.
I shall return…
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