The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has stated that he had no choice but to act on the recommendations of the Committee set up by the Chief Justice to investigate complaints against the former Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs Charlotte Osei, and her two deputies, Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwah.
Speaking publicly on the matter for the first time on Saturday, 30th June, 2018, at a townhall meeting with Ghanaians resident in Nouakchott, Mauritania, ahead of the conduct of the 31st AU Summit, President Akufo-Addo explained that he is duty bound to uphold the teachings of the Constitution.
According to the President, whenever a petition for the removal of a high-ranking public official, like the Electoral Commissioner, is forwarded to the President, all the President has to do, as is stipulated in the Constitution, is to refer the petition to Chief Justice, for her to decide if there is a prima facie case or not.
Once a prima facie case is established, the Chief Justice, in accordance with Article 146(4) of the Constitution, must establish a Committee to investigate the complaints. The Committee, in turn will make its recommendations to the Chief Justice, who shall, then, forward it to the President.
The Committee, the President noted, was composed of a Supreme Court Judge, two High Court judges, and two persons, who are neither lawyers nor Members of Parliament, and who were appointed by the Chief Justice on the advice of the Council of State.
“They (Committee) have been working over the last 6 months, and recommended that the Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Charlotte Osei, and her two deputies, Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwah, be removed from office on the grounds of stated misbehaviour and incompetence,” the President said.
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He continued, “Article 146(9) of the Constitution demands that I act on the recommendations of the committee. I have no power to disagree with the recommendations of the Committee, the Constitution does not give me that power. That is why I have removed the Chairperson of the EC and the two deputies.”
Reiterating his commitment to build a country governed by the rule of law, the President indicated that the laws governing our country must not be a respecter of persons.
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“I, as President, am bound to respect the laws of our land. If I go against the laws of the country, I will be dealt with. Likewise, if you also go against the laws of the country, you must be dealt with. It is sad (the removal of the three EC Chairs), but this is how it must be,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo stressed that the process that led to the removal of Charlotte Osei and her two deputies “was not borne out of hate, or a deliberate orchestration to remove some persons from their jobs.”
The petitioners, he added, are workers of the Electoral Commission and not faceless persons, as some would want Ghanaians to believe. The President also recounted the publicly documented spat between the 3 former EC chairpersons.
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In the search for replacements, the President stated that “we are not looking for persons who are coming to do a job for the NDC or for the NPP. We are looking for persons who are coming to do a job for Ghana. That is what we are looking for, for the Electoral Commission”.