A South Africa-based Ghanaian Professor of the UNISA Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL), Professor Douglas Boateng, has said the appointment of a new Chairman of the Electoral Commission must be open and transparent.
Professor Douglas Boateng, Africa’ first ever Extraordinary Professor for Supply Chain Management at SBLUNISA and UK Institute of Operations Management (IOM), indicated that the move would protect the President and safeguard Ghana’s fragile democracy. He has, therefore, recommended, via electronic mail, that policy makers and all political parties must consider the establishment of an independent selection adjudication panel to appoint the next Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC).
The first-ever Extraordinary Chair in Operations and Supply Chain Management Professional Development for Africa said the panel must consist of two elected representatives from all the political parties, and, at least, four members from civil society.
Prof. Boateng, who is President of the Institute of Operations Management Africa and chairs the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Africa Advisory Board, said the panel must appoint a Chairperson who must not be from the party in power.
He suggested further that a job description for the position must be scripted and advertised openly for 90 days for potential applicants to apply, after which a search agency must be engaged to undertake the initial screening. The Professor stated that all shortlisted applicants must attend an interview, besides a presentation of his or her value proposition in front of the adjudication panel.
Prof. Boateng said each panel member shall individually score each candidate on such things like experience, independence, knowledge, leadership skills, operations management, directorship and governance skills among others, following which process the candidate with the highest score from the panel shall then be presented to the President, who shall be bound by the decision of the panel to appoint the selected individual recommended.
According to the supply chain expert, such an open process will ensure that the President is protected from unnecessary criticisms, and ensure transparency in the selection process. He said the appointment of a qualified, but independent, professional was necessary to ensure that the electoral supply chain, associated governance and operations are world class to safeguard Ghana’s democracy.
Prof. Boateng made the recommendations against the backdrop that the Electoral Commission Chairman is about to retire, and the fact that the President is not duty-bound to accept the advice and recommendations from the Council of State on such matters of national interest. The Electoral Commission is provided for by Article 43 (1) of the Constitution, with the seven members, including the Chairman, being appointed by the President on the advice of the Council of State.
Article 46 of the 1992 Constitution provides that “in the performance of its functions, the Electoral Commission shall not be subject to the control or direction of any authority”, except as provided in the Constitution or any other law not inconsistent with the Constitution. The Chairman and the two deputy Chairmen have permanent tenures of office and enjoy the same conditions of service as justices of the Superior Courts.
The Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Djan, born on June 18, 1945 at Anyimon in the Brong-Ahafo Region, is due for retirement next year, as he turns 70. Dr. Afari-Djan was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Interim National Electoral Commission by the then PNDC government in 1992, with the hope of returning the country to civilian rule.
With the coming into force of the Fourth Republican Constitution, a new Electoral Commission was set up, and Dr. Afari-Djan became its first substantive Chairman, and has remained in that position to date. Meanwhile, Professor Boateng has questioned the relevance of the Council of State, which came into existence in 1969, and was subsequently maintained in the 1979 and 1992 constitutions. The main work of the Council is to advise the President in the performance of his functions. It also advises ministers of state, Parliament and other public institutions established by the Constitution.
But, Professor Boateng contends that it is time for the strategic intent of the Council of State to be revisited to ensure its relevance to the President and people of Ghana. His contention is against the fact that the President is not bound by the advice of this eminent group, which he is supposed to consult for an objective opinion on matters of national interest. Professor Boateng, from the governance perspective, wondered what objective guiding principles are followed by the President in the nomination process of the 11 members, and secondly for the election of the 10 regional representatives.
“If the Ministers of State and institutions are not bound by the advice from this eminent group, what is the relevance of the Council of State in 21st Century Ghana,” he questioned. Constitutionally, the Council of State has 25 members, of which 11 nominated by the President of the Republic, while 10 are elected from each of the 10 regions, with four ex-officio members being a former Chief Justice, a former Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), a former Inspector-General of Police (IGP), and the sitting President of the National House of Chiefs.
Source: The Chronicle
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