All is not well with members of the Electoral Commission (EC) because the commissioners are reportedly still in disagreement over how to hold meetings to plan the way forward for the independent electoral body.
They were set to meet for the first time in over a year last Thursday or so, but that meeting was allegedly cancelled due to lack of quorum, as some of the commissioners stayed away, citing judicial reasons.
A memo by a Deputy Commissioner in-charge of Operations, Alhaji Amadu Sulley to the EC boss appeared to have further scattered the meeting which could have been the first in over a year.
The EC Operations chief’s argument is that since Charlotte Osei has always used the ongoing impeachment proceedings initiated by the Chief Justice as the basis for refusing to call commission meetings, things should stay that way until the Chief Justice’s five-member committee completes its work.
The chairperson of the EC, Charlotte Osei, has been accused of running a ‘one-man’ show by refusing to call for meetings as mandated by law, thereby leaving some of the commissioners frustrated.
Charlotte Osei has been at war with her two deputies since the NDC lost power.
Interestingly, all the three top EC chieftains were appointed by the NDC under John Mahama, but it appears they can’t work together with allegations and counter allegations of corruption being freely traded in the public space.
Information available to DAILY GUIDE indicates that the commissioners have not held a single meeting for over a year – in clear breach of the 1992 Constitution – and activities at the state institution appear to have been put on hold.
The refusal by Charlotte Osei to call commission’ meetings was first revealed by one of the commissioners, Ebenezer Aggrey-Fynn in a strongly-worded memo to the EC boss to impress on her to arrange a meeting somewhere in mid-February.
Mrs. Osei later shot back at Mr. Aggrey-Fynn, who had accused her of turning her position into that of a Sole-Commissioner in clear breach of EC Act, 1993.
She had said in a memo response to Mr. Aggrey-Fynn that as far as she was concerned, there was nothing happening at the EC, which required urgent attention to warrant a Commission Meeting.
She had insisted that she stayed all matters requiring urgent ‘policy direction’ since the petition to initiate impeachment proceedings against her and her two deputies (Amadu Sulley and Mrs. Georgina Opoku Amankwah) were filed.
The predominantly women-composed commission has not seen peace ever since the 2016 election was held.
Information available suggests that the EC boss, who has fallen out with Amadu Sulley (Operations) and Mrs. Opoku Amankwa (Corporate Services) was reluctant to hold the meeting amidst fears that when it came to decision-making through a vote, she might not have the needed support from the other commissioners.
However, she is taking steps to hold commission meetings because one of the commissioners, Pauline Adobea Dadzawa, who was reportedly not in her good books likewise Mr. Aggrey-Fynn, Amadu Sulley and Mrs. Opoku-Amankwah, has gone on retirement and the EC Boss wants to take advantage to ‘restore’ normalcy.
If the meeting had been held, it was going to be attended by only five members because Pauline Adobea Dadzawa is on retirement and Georgina Opoku-Amankwa is on interdiction based on an official report to EOCO filed by Charlotte Osei.
In a memo dated May 31, 2018 directed at the EC boss, Amadu Sulley protested Charlotte Osei’s call for a commission meeting and said the reason for the meeting was untenable.
“Your reason is that commission meeting has become necessary following the completion of hearing for the impeachment process against the three commission members cannot be true. Please note that, not until and unless a final decision has been reached by the Committee of Enquiry the process could not be over.”
“Kindly also take note that, at the time you purportedly sent the notice of invitation of the meeting, you had not filed your written address slated for 31st May 2018. Again, at the time, the Deputy Chair Corporate Services had not finished with her witnesses at the hearing so the hearing could not be complete as you claim.”
Amadu Sulley further said in the memo to Charlotte Osei that “it is also noteworthy that prior to your direction for Deputy Chair, Corporate Services, Director of Finance and Chief Accountant to proceed on leave with no internal management decision and reason in that respect, there was a letter from EOCO suspending an intended legitimate meeting of the commission.”
“To date, I have neither been notified nor seen any correspondence that EOCO had rescinded its decision to suspend an independent constitutional body like the EC from holding its meeting. I do not know however, whether EOCO has now directed you to go ahead and call for commission meeting.”
He told Charlotte Osei to “take note of your response to a meeting request made by a commission member Mr. Aggrey-Fynn and reflect whether anything substantial has changed in the reasons you advanced for not calling a commission meeting.”
“Moreover, since your call for commission meeting is premised on the completion of hearing of the Commission of Enquiry, I wish to advise that the committee has not completed its proceedings and therefore you must be guided not to do anything in that respect.”
In the EC boss’ invitation for the meeting titled ‘Commission Meeting,’ which has attracted a response from the Deputy Commissioner, Operations, she had called for the meeting to be held at 10:00 am last Thursday or so.
“Following the conclusion of hearings in the impeachment cases, I am inviting you to a commission meeting to be held at 10:00 am on Thursday, 31 May, 2018 to discuss the following matters,” the memo indicated, adding that among the issues to be addressed is “the impact of the 2018 budget on electoral activities, update on audits and investigations at the commission.”
They were to also discuss “new policy on performance management from the Public Service Commission, staff promotions/scheme of service and any other businesses.
The meeting was said to have been aborted because only three members, including Charlotte Osei were ready to attend, stripping it of quorum.