Constitutional Rule in Practice
The Centre for African Democratic Affairs (CADA) will like to commend the President for beginning to implement the recommendations made by the Committee setup by the Chief Justice following petitions received by the President regarding the internal wrangling between the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission and her two Deputies from Office.
CADA learnt that on 28 June, 2018 the application of the provisions under Article 146 of the 1992 Constitution which deals with the ‘Removal of Justices of Superior Courts and other similar Appointees who have security of tenure’ was completed when the President, acting on the recommendations of the Committee setup by the Chief Justice, removed the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission and her two Deputies from Office following petitions the President received from the public about the conduct of the three Appointees which prompted the setting up of the Judicial Committee by the Chief Justice. The process started in the last quarter of 2017. This is constitutional rule in practice. The petitioners and the respondents were all given a fair hearing by the committee.
The Electoral Commission is an autonomous institution which is only subject to the constitution. The Commission enjoys security of tenure under Article 46 of the constitution. It is therefore up to the members of the commission to protect this security of tenure by living above board and uphold high moral and ethical integrity rather than to be beholding to the one who appoints them.
In the opinion of CADA, with the removal of the three members and the retirement of one other member, the President on the advice of the Council of State as stated under Article 70 (2) must appoint four new members of the Commission. CADA hopes that this exercise would be done as soon as possible since the Electoral Commission is to conduct referendum for areas proposed to be new regions this year and to prepare for the conduct of the District Assembly Elections next year. However, CADA cautions that this should also not be done in a rush and without political influence. The Commission should be fully constituted to give policy guidance to the staff.
CADA also commend the President for asking all the affected Commissioners to immediately hand-over their respective duties to the Director for Human Resource and General Services.
In moving forward, CADA is of the view that all is not lost. The Commission can boast of qualified and seasoned staff that can be relied upon to efficiently run affairs of the organization. CADA is of a firm belief that the new Commission so to speak would consider taking actions of the following among others in their operations; run an orientation course for all members on electoral laws and how members shall relate to their publics; how members should maintain their integrity and avoid negative public perception; develop proper corporate governance relationship with career staff and put in place a functional organizational structure; revisit the change of Commission’s logo; revive the Inter-Party Advisory Committee; and develop proper public education to redeem their image and the lost public confidence.
Director, Electoral Affairs – CADA