The vision of the National Peace Council is to have a country “characterized by a dynamic environment where people can engage in their lawful activities confident that the institutions, mechanisms and capacities for mediating differences and grievances are effective and responsive”. However, recent actions by the commission defeat the purpose for which it was established. Their actions and positions it takes on sensitive national issues undermine the tenets of our democracy.
Politics in Africa has been given unusual connotation or labeled for decades. Across the political space of the continent, it is tagged as a fierce and bloody battle between the incumbent and the opposite. That notwithstanding, Ghana has enjoyed relative peace and smooth elections because of our nature as a people, effective laws guiding our elections and efficient handling of our elections by the poll watchdog (The electoral commission). In fact, in some part of the continent, it is considered as a poisonous game of enmity, animosity and antagonism because of how the political players handle the game. Gradually, this ‘do or die’ battle among political rivals and those with undying political interest is taking over the political space. In this case, the Machiavellian theory has taken center stage with politicians applying all the unconventional mechanisms under the sun to win political power, or stay in power. Vicious personality attacks, character assassination and blackmailing have become part of our politics. This style of practicing politics is not only farfetched, but it also undermines the stability of the country and the dispensation we’ve jealously guided from 1992.
Is the PEACE COUNCIL telling Ghanaians that they see nothing wrong with the removal of the Electoral Commissioner? Were they in the country when
a) Kennedy Agyepong used those unprintable words on the Charllote Osei?
b) Were they in the country when the Npp as a party called for the removal of the EC boss?
c) Were they in the country when Gabby Otchere-Darko, the President’s nephew on his social media platforms, demanded the removal of the EC boss and accused her of conniving with the NDC to rig the 2016 election?
d)Were they in Ghana when she (Charlotte)was accused by top Npp executives that she slept with government officials for her appointment?
e) Were they in the country when Npp top officials designed posters of Charlotte Osei as parliamentary candidate of the NDC in the 2008 elections.
f) Were they in the country when top officials of the Npp openly threatened Charlotte they will remove her from office if they win the 2016 election.
g) Did they hear what then candidate Akufo Addo said about Charlotte Osei when he met his party’s folks in Holland.
Motives and intents are two critical ingredients all fair minded judges or people appointed to resolve conflicts consider in their work. Have they read the committee’s report and the full proceedings? If yes, then they must bow their heads in shame for coming into that conclusion. The peace council as a body has its core functions which is, to raise awareness surrounding the use of non violent strategies in response to conflict through networking, coordination and campaigning. The constitution doesn’t guarantee the Peace Council same independence as the Electoral Commission. But the council has its own administrative rules and principles guiding its operations. Its core mandate is to ensure stability and Ghanaians and its appointing authorities will judge them on that score. There are internal mechanisms well designed to solve its internal issues. Why aren’t they assessing the Electoral Commission issue from same perspective. If they have read the full report, why aren’t they asking questions about the inconsistencies on the part of the witnesses who appeared before the committee.
I am sure the council’s members have in-depth understanding about the political landscape of Africa and the perception of both politicians and the electorates. They know why so many conflicts on the continent so one expected them to have done serious work on the report and the final decision of the President before coming out with its official position. Will they have the moral courage to advise future governments when they take same decision agonist a EC boss they suspect is in bed with the opposition? When assessing these critical issues, we must look beyond the present. This is a bad precedent the council and all lovers of democracy must kick against. The future of our democracy and sanctity of the constitution is under threat.
For decades we fought against the bias nature of some unscrupulous electoral officers and monitors, coercion, inadequate civic education, ballot stuffing, disappearance of boxes etc through the courts, inter party meetings etc. But it seems the Akufo Addo government has well coordinated plans to pollute the political landscape with these anti democratic strategies to rig the next and subsequent elections. Rigging elections is a common political phenomenon employed by incumbents that have betrayed public confidence by failing to deliver on their promises to the people and that’s exactly what the current administration is determined to do.
The Peace Council should come out with a comprehensive statement explaining why they think removal of the EC boss is the best thing that has happened to Ghana in recent times. In explaining why their position, they should tell us whether
a) Charlotte Osei and her outfit successfully handled the 2016 election and all other elections held during her tenure
b) Siphoned monies meant for the EC’s activities.
c) Did the so called procurement breaches affect the 2016 election or the commission’s core activities
d)Did she make attempts to sanitize the environment which brought her at loggerheads with her deputies
e) Are there records suggesting that prior to her appointment, the commission was facing procurement breaches and other malfeasances?
f) Were they attempts to get her out because of her strict administrative measures and cancellation of bad contracts signed before she took over
g) Did the committee find those Charlotte accused guilty of the allegations she leveled against them
The interest of the President and his party shouldn’t supersede the collective aspiration of the majority of Ghanaians and I hope the Peace Council is not pushing us to the backseat of the democratic plane. The council is becoming a threat to our peace and it doesn’t change its ways may incur the wrath of Ghanaians.
The opposition parties now have concrete grounds to stand on in 2020 if the detect anything untoward. The President is going to appoint the new EC boss, the two deputies and the other four because of the removal and retirement of the rest before 2020. The psychological perception is already blowing heavily in the air. The Peace Council ought to have weighed all these scenarios and dynamics before issuing that dangerous statement.