Don’t stampede Prez over choice of EC chair - Youth group

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As more individuals and organisations continue to share their opinions on the selection of the next chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), a non-partisan youth civil society organisation, the National Youth Leaders Forum (NYLF), has described such moves as stampeding the President and offensive to the spirit and letter of the 1992 Constitution.

The group said just as all previous presidents were given the free hand to appoint members and deputies to the EC, same must be offered President Mahama in consultation with the Council of State.

Addressing the press in Kumasi, the Executive Director of NYLF, Mr Michael Kwabena Ampong, alleged that some of the groups prescribing different approaches other than what the Constitution had stated were “civil society organisations sponsored by politicians seeking to create unnecessary tension and incite Ghanaians .”

In recent times, political parties, civil society organisations, religious leaders and some notable figures in the country have joined the debate over the selection of a successor to the Chairman of the EC, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, when he retires in June this year.

While others have called for broader consultation in the selection of a chairman who would be above board and be accepted by all, others have argued that the President must be given the free hand to undertake his constitutional duty as prescribed by the Supreme Law of the Land.

Mr Ampong reiterated Article 70 clause 2 of the Constitution which states that: “The President shall, act on the advice of the Council of State, appoint the Chairman, two deputy Chairmen and other members of the Electoral Commission”, to support his case.

He indicated that anything contrary to what the Constitution had stated would be unconstitutional unless Article 43 and 70 were either amended or repealed and called on Ghanaians to uphold the dictates of the Constitution.

Mr Ampong, who had contested the NPP National Youth Organiser position twice, recounted various examples when former Presidents had appointed an EC Chairman, deputies and other members without any hullabaloo.

He cited the appointment of Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan as the EC Chairman by former President J.J. Rawlings; former President J. A. Kufuor appointed four of the current members of the Commission and Prof. J. E. A. Mills, who also made appointments to the EC.

“Please Ghanaians, let’s avoid any unnecessary agitations and suspicions which have the tendency of creating avoidable tension, electoral dispute and further antagonism of the Electoral Commission even before the next general election in 2016”, Mr Ampong added.

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