Exactly three weeks after The aL-hAJJ reported that the governing New Patriotic Party is scheming to get rid of Chairperson of Ghana’s Electoral Commission, Mrs Charlotte Osei, to pave the way for rigging the 2020 elections, some unidentified persons are alleged to have petitioned President Akufo-Addo to remove the first female Electoral Commissioner from office.
But the EC boss has served notice through her attorney that she is battle ready and will fight her detractors who are bent on seeing her back.
The petition, initiated by some faceless persons calling themselves; “Concerned Staff” of the EC, has been described by many, including a founding member of the NPP, Dr Charles Wereko Brobbey as “vindictive, partisan attempt to remove the EC chair to allow for the appointment of preferred person”.
The unnamed petitioners through their lawyer, Maxwell Opoku Agyemang, accused Mrs Charlotte Osei of breaching public procurement regulations and disregarding administrative procedures in her management of the electoral management body.
They also charged the EC boss with cronyism and witch-hunting of the ruling NPP and some EC staff perceived to be sympathetic to the ruling party.
Mrs Charlotte Osei has however described the allegations as “bogus, frivolous, lies and baseless” and has caused her lawyers, Sory@law, to write to the lawyer for the petitioners to disclose the identity of his clients or risk facing a defamation suit.
Mrs Charlotte Osei has since released a yet-to-be requested but, elaborate response to rubbish all 27 allegations levelled against.
This development confirms The aL-hAJJ’s July 4, 2017, publication headlined “NPP Plots to rig 2020 elections, EC boss targeted for ouster”. The publication revealed how the ruling party had planned to skew the next general elections in its favour through the manipulation and implementation of the Representation of Peoples Act (ROPA).
The paper quoted NPP insiders saying the recently inaugurated 10 member committee by the party to provide a road map for the successful prosecution of the 2020 elections recommended that “every effort must be made towards the removal of the Electoral Commissioner, Madam Charlotte Osei from office before the next elections.”
“Charlotte has been marked out as a possible impediment in the NPP’s quest to win the 2020 election. She will block any attempt by the NPP to rig the election…she will also prove difficult if we want to push for the implementation of ROPA…and because of this; they are planning to get rid of her from that office,” the source recounted.
“Winning 2020 election will not be an easy task so we are fervently preparing for that. And one of the ways to make our win easy in 2020 is to push for the implementation of ROPA. With that, the election results can easily be manipulated…but rigging election itself is also not an easy task because some of the guys working at EC must be in support of it. And, considering how the NPP vilified Charlotte and even attempted to use the courts to block her appointment, she may not support any move to implement ROPA when she is not convinced that the implementation will not compromise the election results”, the source added.
Another source privy to the NPP’s plot told The aL-hAJJ that “one of the ways to chase out Charlotte is to create an imaginary “crisis-situation” at the EC by pitching her against some of her colleague Commissioners… and I think we are making headway in that direction, as recent media reports suggest uneasy calm at EC… we are hoping it will lead to her exit.”
The aL-hAJJ’s report, like a prophecy, has now been confirmed by recent media reports that, the unnamed EC staff/petitioners alleged among other things that Mrs Charlotte Osei is not on good terms with her deputies. According to the petitioners, she has since her appointment not visited her deputies in their respective offices.
This particular allegation was first raised by two senior NPP MPs; Majority leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu and Akwapim South MP, Osei Bonsu Amoah.
The Akwapim South MP, an apparent critic of Mrs Osei, said some officials at EC claim Mrs Osei unilaterally takes decisions for the workers and ensures that those decisions are enforced.
“Sometimes when you talk to the officials at the EC they tell you that all is not well. They tell us in private that the Chair does not consult them when taking decisions. There are a whole lot of issues, but the EC is an independent body and so you cannot just call them to ask them questions,” he said.
“I will also inform the Majority Leader in Parliament and if possible we will invite them to parliament and discuss the matter. If there is any problem we will see how we can deal with it so that it doesn’t affect their work. If it affects their work then the entire country will be in danger,” the Deputy Minister added.
Before this, the Majority Leader in Parliament who is also Head of the Special Budget Committee of the House, Hon Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu had stated that “The general observation from the committee was that the commissioners are not on good terms. It cannot be good for the conduct of elections. For instance, when they appeared before us and we asked the whereabouts of the chairman, the deputy commissioner said: ‘My information is that she has travelled outside’ without informing the others. They don’t know that she is outside the country. The deputy commissioners didn’t know the whereabouts of the chairperson of the commission. It cannot be good for the image of the commission. That is why we are saying that we should find a way to resolve the differences amongst them because ultimately it will impact on the conduct of elections…”
Shockingly, the two NPP MP’s allegations together with the NPP’s long held view that Mrs Charlotte Osei is an agent of NDC were all captured in the petition intended to get her out of office to smoothen the ground for the governing party to have “a field day” at the electoral management body outfit.
After it was reported that some unnamed EC staff had petitioned the President to initiate processes leading to Mrs Osei’s removal, Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu again, has been speaking on the matter. He told the media that, the petition was a follow up of some internal wrangling at the Commission.
“I want to believe that it is that whole process that is playing out because of the people there, of course, we heard that she [Charlotte Osei] resorted to EOCO to get rid of them [Georgina and co].
“Don’t forget that the lady involved, the Deputy Commissioner (Georgina Opoku Amankwah], had been with Madam Charlotte Osei at NCCE where she was her boss. But she (Georgina) had preceded her to the Electoral Commission,” Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said.
“Before she [Charlotte] came there [EC], she [Georgina] was thinking that she could be made the commissioner herself, and the other guy, Sule [Amadu], had also preceded all of them so he was also thinking that he could be made the commissioner, so it is their own kind of internal wrangling.”
“I made this point on the floor [of Parliament] that, we saw the signals; the signs on the wall were clear because they had appeared before us, the special budget committee. I had asked a simple question, the chairperson was required to be with us … before we begin, may we know the whereabouts of the chairperson [Charlotte], is she coming and the first response was that, well we understand she has travelled. I was taken aback so I repeated the question.”
“Did you hear me? I am asking about the whereabouts of the commissioner and she [Georgina Opoku Amankwah] repeated the same that she gathers this morning that she has travelled.”
The Minister said: “Can we have a situation where the commissioner would be travelling out of the jurisdiction without informing any of the deputies, It is bad blood. So I told them in March that they should have a way to resolve the impasse there otherwise it could blow, this is what we are witnessing today.”
“It is their own internal kind of bleeding that we are witnessing, it shouldn’t be because I said to us sometime back as a nation that it may have repercussion on impending elections,” he explained.
Below is the full response submitted to EOCO