Kwesi Pratt, Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, is unhappy with the personal attacks on the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs. Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei.
Since the appointment of the former National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) boss, as Electoral Commissioner, her actions and inactions have come under intense scrutiny from all sectors – political and social – with some questioning her conduct and others accusing her of exhibiting political bias towards the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The EC’s decision to maintain the existing electoral roll for the November polls led to the NPP accusing her of towing the propaganda line of the governing party.
Again, her assertion that the EC had uncovered quite a significant number of suspected multiple registrations in the Ashanti region, which was wholly untrue, was a massive dent on her integrity. Her subsequent clarification, even though timely, did her no good in the eyes of the NPP.
She had earlier claimed her outfit identified 200,000 names involved in multiple registrations in the Ashanti Region. As a result, the NPP in Ashanti Region, questioned the basis upon which the EC boss arrived at the earlier figure from the party’s stronghold.
“She (Charlotte Osei) made the bold statement that the EC has identified in Ashanti region alone, 200,000 names which are on the multiple registration list…this disclosure is again very strange…The EC in its response to the NPP claimed in page 23 that 150,000 names had been identified as multiples nationwide. How is it possible therefore for the EC to identify as much as 200,000 names in the Ashanti region alone?” Sam Pyne, Ashanti Regional Secretary of the NPP queried.
Days later, she did a quick turn-around and stated that the correct figure for suspected multiple registrations in the region was 14,651.
In an interview with Starrfm’s Robert Nii Arday Clegg, the EC boss admitted she mixed up the figures concerning multiple registrations in the Ashanti region. “I made a mistake with the figures and I think it’s really important that we clarify it and we put it on record. With regard to the suspected multiple registrations which are on the exception’s list.”
That was in 2015. Fast-forward to this year.
To some, the furor generated by the composition of an 18-member Election Steering Committee, which was inaugurated this month to coordinate the activities of the various stakeholders within the electoral process to ensure successful elections, placed the EC in the limelight for all the wrong reasons.
The controversial committee was hit by allegations of partisanship by the NPP, Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA) and Alliance For Accountable Governance (AFAG), claiming it comprised card-bearing members of the NDC; prompting the withdrawal of Dr Karl Mark Arhin, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the National Service Scheme.
The three groups, in separate press releases, noted that it cannot be sheer coincidence that three known NDC persons were appointed to a new committee formed by the EC to deepen the credibility of the general elections and called for its disbandment.
But the commission on Thursday stuck to its guns saying it was not considering that option.
However, on Friday, Madam Charlotte Osei ate humble pie by announcing the suspension of the committee following a meeting with the various political parties at the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting.
The EC boss is said to have rendered an unqualified apology to the various political parties for acting unilaterally in the selection of members for its 18-member Steering Committee.
Needless to say, the NPP and some pro-pressure political groups, have not hidden their disapproval of her resolute conduct and often express their disquiet whenever the opportunity presents itself.
But one person clearly unenthused at the attempt to besmear the EC and its Chairperson is Kwesi Pratt Jnr who on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo Friday, called on her attackers to tone down.
The senior journalist was at a loss why attacks are being directed at her (Charlotte Osei’s) person and not the Commission, since whatever decision the EC Chair makes is obviously in consultation with the other members of the Commission; hence a collective one.
“I don’t understand why every decision by the EC is being personalized and directed at Charlotte Osei. Is she the only person who makes up the Commission? I think we should be fair to the lady…If we do that, it won’t take long and all our State institutions and national institutions will be smeared,” he warned.