CSOs call on 2 EC appointees to resign

Three civil society organisations (CSOs) have called for the resignation of two of the three persons recently appointed by the President to the Electoral Commission (EC) as a result of their perceived affiliation to the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).

They said the two persons Dr Peter Appiahene and Hajia Salima Ahmed Tijani must do the honourable thing by immediately resigning from the EC in order to repose trust in the commission and ensure its credibility and the organisation of elections in the country.

The CSOs, which made the call at a press conference in Accra yesterday, are the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), the Star-Ghana Foundation and the Civic Forum Initiative (CFI)

Speaking on behalf of the CSOs, a member of the Advisory Board of CODEO, Rev. Dr Fred Deegbe, said: “It is our considered and strongly held view and position that the appointment to the independent and non-partisan EC of persons who are known partisans or who have a partisan cloud over their heads is inconsistent with the spirit of the Constitution.”

Moreover, he said, such appointments risked undermining cross-party and public trust and confidence in the EC and thus posed a danger to the country’s evolving democracy.

Sworn in

President Nana Akufo-Addo, on March 20, this year, swore into office Dr Appiahene, Hajia Tijani and Rev.

Akua Ofori Boateng to fill vacancies on the EC, created by the early retirement of Hajia Sa-Adatu Maida, Ebenezer Aggrey-Fynn and Rebecca Kabukie Adjaho.


Rev. Dr Deegbe said unhelpfully, the announcement of the new appointments was not accompanied by detailed biographical and other background information on each of the appointees, and that the CSOs were, indeed, unsure if the Council of State was provided with all the necessary background information it was expected to have in order to discharge its constitutionally mandated “advice” function in respect of such appointments.

“In the absence of adequate official biographical information on the appointees, we too, like the public and the media generally, have been compelled to rely on internet searches, social media and other unofficial sources to learn more about the appointees,” he said.

Dr Appiahene

Rev. Dr Deegbe said according to his LinkedIn page, Dr Appiahene was an Assistant Professor/Senior Lecturer at the University of Energy and Natural Resources, Sunyani, where he heads the Department of Computer Science and Informatics.

He also holds a Ph.D in Computer Science and an MPhil in Information Technology.

Since the announcement of his appointment as a member of the EC, Rev. Dr Deegbe said, social media postings had revealed that Dr Appiahene was an activist of the NPP in the Bono Region, and that in one social media comment from January 2021, headed: “Dr Appiahene for Bono Region”, he was featured on an NPP-labelled flyer as one of six prospects for the position of Bono Regional Minister.

He said the commenter who put up that post said: “The Bono Region and the NPP need much more energetic and vibrant leadership to help take the region to the desired goals” and urged all to “rally behind Dr Appiahene for Bono Regional Minister to achieve more”.

In another social media video clip that had gone viral since his appointment, Rev. Dr Deegbe said, Dr Appiahene was seen and heard participating in a radio programme, ‘Anopa Nimdee Adwasuo’, on Nimdee FM 95.1 (Sunyani) as a self-identified NPP activist in the Bono Region and naming one Kwame Baffoe (popularly known as Abronye DC) as his Chairman.

Hajia Salima Ahmed Tijani (nee Salima Sani Mahama)

In the case of Hajia Tijani, he said the Graphic Online (www.graphic.com.gh) reported that she was a banker with the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), and that she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Integrated Development Studies and an MBA in Project Management.

She is currently an MSc. Finance student.

He said internet searches and other social media exchanges since the announcement of her appointment had revealed additional relevant information on Hajia Tijani.

“She is said to be married to one Sheikh T.B. Damba, a leading member of the NPP. who was formerly the Second National Vice-Chairman of the party and served as Ghana’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 2017 to 2021.

“Hajia Tijani’s mother, Hajia Samata Gifty Bukari, was the first elected woman First Vice-Chairperson of the NPP in the Northern Region,” he said, while her sister, Hajia Abibata Shani Mahama Zakariah, who is currently the CEO of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), contested the 2020 NPP primary in the Yendi constituency and had already publicly announced her intention to contest again in 2024.

“Hajia Tijani’s multiple close familial relationship with leading and active NPP figures raises apparent conflict of interest concerns and, for that matter, a legitimate perception and appearance of a lack of independence,” he said.

Rev. Akua Ofori-Boateng

Regarding Rev. Ofori-Boateng, Rev. Dr Deegbe said she was the Director of Programmes for the Anglican Diocese of Accra, and that the priest held a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics,a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA.

“She also earned a Master of Arts degree in Ministry from the Trinity Theological Seminary in Legon, Ghana. As a priest, Rev. Ofori-Boateng serves at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Accra.

She has hosted a gospel talk show, #995TheWord, on Asaase Radio 99.5 since June 2020. We have found nothing problematic in her background,” he said.

He said the CSOs were concerned about the non-transparent and non-inclusive nature of appointments to key independent constitutional bodies such as the EC, and that although the relevant letter of the Constitution was unhelpfully scanty, the spirit of the Constitution that underpinned those provisions left no doubt that, having regard to the functions assigned the EC, as well as the independent character, non-partisanship, both actual and perceived, was a non-negotiable principle and consideration that must guide the appointing authority in the selection of the commission’s members.

“While we support calls for a constitutional amendment to make the process of nomination and appointment to the EC explicitly inclusive and transparent, we believe that there is room even in the current constitutional arrangement for the process to be inclusive and transparent.

We propose that, in filling a vacancy on the EC (and other independent constitutional bodies), the President, acting in his role as Head of State, propose and make public the names (and biographical information) of candidates to be considered by the Council of State,” he said.

In keeping with the spirit of his role as Head of State, he said, the President should consult key stakeholders, including political parties represented in Parliament, in coming up with the list of candidates to be submitted to the Council of State, and that the council should then invite petitions and other inputs on the proposed individuals from the public as part of a process of vetting and shortlisting the candidates.


“The Council of State would then shortlist and rank the final candidates and make appropriate recommendation to the President.

In an amended constitutional process, the nominee should be required to receive the approval of Parliament prior to their appointment by the President.

What we wish to emphasise here is that, nothing about the current constitutional provision and arrangement relating to the EC requires or excuses the appointment of partisans and other unsuitable persons to membership of the EC,” he said.

Rev. Dr Deegbe said the organisations were painfully aware that voluntary or constitutionally grounded revocation of those unfortunate and democratically problematic EC appointments by the President was extremely unlikely.

However, he said nothing stopped the affected appointees, namely Dr Appiahene and Hajia Tijani, from voluntarily and honourably resigning from membership of the EC, as “this will be in the supreme interest of our country’s continued democratic progress, election peace and credibility and, indeed, the overall national interest”.


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