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21 July 2017 | Editorial

Salvaging The Integrity Of The EC

Daily Guide
Salvaging The Integrity Of The EC

The Electoral Commission (EC) is an institution whose integrity should be devoid of blemish. This fact is reason the petition by some nameless staff of the Commission which threatens this attribute should be viewed with all the seriousness the relevant bodies can muster so the appropriate response can be administered.

The allegations the staffers are leveling against the EC Chief cannot be swept under the carpet because doing so would be preparing the grounds for the festooning around the Commission's neck – blemishes which would soon rob it of the integrity it needs to be considered credible and worthy of conducting general elections.

The independence of the elections management system is an attribute intended to enhance its integrity and so any suspicion that this quality is being abused by the Chairperson of the EC should prompt dismay and rightly so.

When questions are spawned about the integrity of the Chairperson in the manner the concerned staffers have done, we can only implore the President to expedite action on the demand by forwarding same to the Chief Justice to ascertain the credibility or otherwise of the allegations in a manner which would clear the Chairperson of any iota of misconduct. These when left lying low have the propensity to rob her of the deference she requires to discharge her functions creditably.

There can be no doubt that when the Chairperson of an EC deals with the executive in a manner as spelt out by the petitioners, dining or so if you like, and resulting in the release of a vehicle without recourse to laid-down procedures as alleged by the petitioners, eyebrows would be raised. It indeed presents another important ground for the determination of the value of the integrity query in adherence with constitutional diktat.

Article 46 of the Constitution regarding the Electoral Commission is explicit about the importance of keeping the Commission outside the control of the executive. The concerned staff think this has been breached as in the case of the V8 vehicle.

We are pleased that the concerned staffers took the necessary step of petitioning the President for onward transmission to the next level so a prima facie case can be established.

The kind of grumbling and anonymous letter writing to the media triggered under such circumstances could have resulted in an untoward outcome that would not inure to the interest of the EC and by extension, our democratic development. We are currently learning the ropes of democracy and would be courting trouble when we ignore parlous grievances raised by our compatriots. They have in essence pressed the panic button and so it is for the applicable response mechanisms to be activated and pronto. We have invested so much by way of energy and funds in our democratic journey that any spanner thrown into the spooks must be removed forthwith.

Madam Charlotte Osei is entitled to being heard and what better means to do so than exhausting the constitutionally approved channels available under such circumstances.

“The Chairperson has submitted an estimate of over GH¢1 million for the renovation of her official bungalow without recourse to the Commission or appropriate staff in the Commission” the petitioners alleged. The EC Chairperson has been challenged, she must be cleared or otherwise; the allegations having pushed the Commission to choppy waters.

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