EC Commissioners’ unlimited term of office is risky – President Kufuor
1/5/2009 9:15:24 PM -
President John Agyekum Kufuor on Monday said the unlimited tenure of office of the Electoral Commission's (EC) Chairman and the two deputies was risky for securing electoral accountability to the people.
'Unlike the Executive and the Legislature which have to have their mandates renewed every four years, the Commission is without term limits, the out-going President Kufuor stated at his last address to the fourth Parliament before its dissolution.
He said the country had been fortunate with the current Commission which had conducted itself professionally but added that generally, 'it is risky to have a referee that enjoys permanent tenure'.
'I therefore recommend for the consideration of this House and the nation
a system which will retain the absolute independence of the Commission, but also provide it with specific tenure,' he said.
President Kufuor suggested a six-year two-term arrangement, which should overlap the four-year term of Parliament's, where renewal of appointment of the Commissioners is vested in an Electoral College as a way of securing accountability to the people.
He however, commended the EC for adhering to professional electoral code of conduct and urged Parliament to 'take a closer look at the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE).
The Electoral Commission is one of the governance institutions provided for under the 1992 constitution. It is made up of seven members - a chairman, two deputy chairmen and four other members.
The Chairman of the Electoral Commission shall have the same terms and conditions of service as a Justice of the Court of Appeal.
The Deputies shall have the same terms and conditions of service as are applicable to a Justice of the High Court.
While in office they shall not hold any other public office.
Reacting to the President's recommendation, the NCCE Chairman, Mr Laary Bimi said President Kufuor's recommendation must be debated by Ghanaians 'most especially Constitutional Experts.'
He noted that electoral management demands a depth of experience by the electoral administrator and the current regulation establishing the EC took into account that provision.
Mr Bimi said it would be very difficult for the Chairman to gather such experience exhibited by Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, the EC Chairman to steer the nation through the December Presidential and Parliamentary polls.
Mr Kwasi Afriyie Badu, Chief Executive Officer of KAB Governance Consult, explained that the reason for the unlimited tenure of office of the EC Commissioner's was to insulate it from the governmental control, ensure security of Commissioners and build upon institutional knowledge.