John Dramani Mahama, President of the republic of Ghana has, in accordance with the 1992 constitution, appointed Mrs. Charlotte Osei as the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Ghana.
Her appointment follows the retirement of Dr. kwadwo Afari Gyan from the Electoral Commission after almost two decades as chairman of the National Electoral Commission.
A press release from the Flagstaff House, seat of the Presidency described Mrs. Osei, as a lawyer with considerable experience in public service management, institutional reform also has expertise in corporate law, banking, insurance, project financing and public-private partnerships.
Well, what do the people say? Please let’s go to the streets of Accra and listen to them:-
Christopher Dinko (Student U.C.C)
“Before I come to Charlotte Osei let me say this. No doubt, Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan has put Ghana on the world stage as a country which adheres to the true tenets of multi-party democracy. Today, Ghana’s electoral practices have become a blue-print for many countries in Europe and Africa due to the exemplary leadership qualities Afari Gyan. He has paid his dues unquestionably to the people of Ghana and these are the kinds of people who deserve ex-gratia and not those other kinds. Like every human institution, the Electoral Commission suffered some set-backs but it could have been worse without selfless and dedicated services of Wofa Gyan. I do hope that the newly appointed Commissioner would implement sound recommendations made by the various committees to ensure that we have a better, open and transparent electoral system in Ghana.”
Regina Oteng (Trader)
“ My brother, the good news is that women are being given the needed recognition in our country and that is all I expect. We are not only good at cooking delicious meals and taking care of children. We can equally run a country and the men must better watch out. I can assure you that the woman President Mahama has appointed to the Electoral Commission will beat the record of Afari Gyan. The rights of women have been suppressed for far too long and the time has come for dedicated, selfless and competent women who understand the intricacies of statehood to step forward and be counted. I like the woman and I think she can do well”
“ Well I have not followed the announcement of the newly appointed Electoral Commissioner with any excitement because whoever she is, her commission will declare the winner of the elections in December next year and the outcome would not do this country any good and it will not benefit me in any way. Look at the performance of the people elected under the supervision of the Electoral Commission from Assembly Man to President of the Republic and tell me which one of them has been able to resolve the problems of the Assembly and the country at whole. It is all a fanfare. In the lead to the election next year the media will whip the unemployed, the sick and the hungry people into a useless frenzy. Right after the elections are over, it is like nothing has happened and a new bunch of politicians are elected into places of power. Soon their stomachs and cheeks begin to bloat and their children are transferred to schools in London and America. Private companies who supported the winner of the elections begin making super profits out of Government contracts. We can only be excited when our elected leaders work in the interest of the state and the many people who lurk in the corners of the street.”
Benedicta Gyandeh (Shop Keeper)
“ I am not particularly interested in the topic of interview because there are major challenges our elected officers have neglected. The important issue is not about whether a man or woman is appointed the electoral commissioner. And it is also not about the master tactics of Afari Gyan or the beauty of the woman some are talking about. It is about what work the people who emerge winners in the electoral process have to offer to bring small comfort to the people. Why must people die just because of a normal occurrence like rainfall? Why are there so many people walking aimlessly in the streets of our country without jobs? The Electoral Commission only pronounces who the citizens of this country elect either as Member of Parliament of Head of State. What then must follow is that they work to meet the expectations of the electorates but they don’t. The problems keep growing. Maybe we must take turns and give the President and his Ministers a few lashes of the cane every morning before they move to their work places. I wish the woman Electoral Commissioner well.”
Doe Ametepey (Security Officer)
“For me I believe everyone can do something when given the opportunity. In fact it so often happens that the people with love for the job are the ones who never get to do it and that partly accounts for the reasons why our country keeps moving behind. We all know and the politicians especially know who the right people are but they deliberately look elsewhere because they fear them. Even me I can serve as a competent Electoral Commissioner so let us allow the woman to be. Nobody knew of the exceptional competence and the bravery of Afari Gyan until he was given a chance to work, so let us try the woman.”
Badaki Barnabas (Driver)
“ It is obvious that Ghanaians read political meanings into every matter needlessly and in the end we compromise the outcome of good decisions taken on the behalf of the State. President John Mahama has a duty as the Head of State to appoint people into very sensitive positions and that includes the appointment of the Electoral Commissioner. The powers of the President were given to him by the constitution of Ghana and that is why we must respect every decision that he makes even when we do not like it. Why, minutes after Madam Charlotte Osei was appointed as Electoral Commissioner all manner of experts suddenly emerged to massage the law to challenge the President and condemn his appointment. Why did they not make similar noises when Kufuor appointed Georgina Woode as the Chief Justice? Why must we allow a sophisticated few to always condemn the actions of the President just for the sake of political gains to the detriment of all of us? This attitude must stop now and it must be stopped somehow?”
David Amo (Restaurant Manager)
“The post of the Electoral Commissioner is about the capacity, experience and the will power of an appointed officer to run that office. That the new Commissioner [Charlotte Osei] is of the female gender is not relevant for me. If she is given the needed resources and each and every one of us support her by being responsible electorates, like we did under Afari Gyan, she will surely do well in her new appointment. It seems that when some of our people disagree with the President, then they do everything to turn the constitution on its head and sometimes rewrite the constitution to tally with their expectations. The constitution of Ghana is the supreme law of the land and in as much as we have gone against it in the past does not mean that we can do so today. Why are they trying so desperately to halt the appointment of the Electoral Commissioner in Court? Are they saying the President is not the right person to appoint the Electoral Commissioner or that he did not follow the right procedure? Which is which? The President has done nothing wrong by this new appointment if only it was done based on merit. How can we run to conclusion that the woman will be manipulated when we are yet to put her to the test? I have been watching the woman and her demeanor from a distance and it tells me she will be the diehard no nonsense type of an Electoral Commissioner and that is why some people might be uncomfortable with her appointment. I have no problem at all if she has been appointed based on merit.”
Mohammed Ahmed (Barber)
“ I think there is reasonable amount of concern which cannot be neglected that the appointment of the new Electoral Commissioner was not timely because there is a case in court about the procedure for the appointment of the Electoral Commissioner and that concern is justified. If we are all to partake equally in the process of governance then the President cannot act like a bulldozer. Why was President Mahama in so much of a hurry? I strongly believe that a woman cannot handle the post of an Electoral Commissioner for many reasons. Firstly, by the natural disposition of women, they are unable to handle stressful situations like it happens very often during elections in Ghana. They will easily give up when the heat is too much to take. You need a certain amount of balls to stand against the pressure of different interest groups during the electioneering period and that is why I believe a man is best for that post. ”