The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) on Thursday urged President John Dramani Mahama to appoint a competent neutral person as Chairman of the Electoral Commission at the end of Dr Kwadwo Afari-Djan’s tenure.
Nana Kwabena Aborampah Mensah, the CDD-Ghana Programmes Officer, said: “The position of CDD is that the President must broaden his horizon to get a person who is independent, competent and has the nation at heart”.
He said although the constitution is the only instrument capable of directing the President as to what to do, “we are appealing to the President to appoint someone who will not destroy the peace and democracy the country has enjoyed over the years”.
Nana Mensah made the appeal during an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra on the sideline of a project evaluation and information sharing workshop on its social accountability and citizens participation in local governance organised by the centre.
He said the constitution empowers the President, acting upon the advice of the Council of State, to appoint an Electoral Commissioner, adding that, the constitution gives criteria as to who qualifies to be Electoral Commissioner.
“But what we are saying is that, the position is very sensitive. Why is it that when we were replacing Mr Emil Short, as Commissioner of the Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), and the National Commission on Civic Education chairman, the attention and concern of the public were not raised?
“And what is it that a year ahead of the EC Chairman’s retirement people started talking about his successor? It tells the nation that elections form the basis of democracy.
“When the constitution fails, all other constitutional bodies fail and the constitution is thrown overboard as the military takes over. Therefore, it is a critical and sensitive issue that must be handled with all care that it deserves,” Nana Mensah stated.
“So even though the constitution gives the President a mandate to nominate, the President even in his retirement will relax when he is able to leave the nation with an honest person so far as election is concerned.”
He said the country would praise the President forever because he was able to stand above partisan issues with a neutral and independent person to operate one of the most important commissions in the country as far as democracy is concerned.