The Council of State responded to the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), clarifying that their recommendation for the appointment of Dr. Peter Appiahene to the Electoral Commission (EC) was based solely on his skill and competence, without taking political affiliation into account.
The Council of State, known for advising the President on national matters, received a petition from the NDC’s National Chairman, Johnson Asiedu Nketia. He requested a review of the recommendation, expressing concern that the reputation of the Electoral Commission would suffer if the appointments were not revoked. The NDC’s letter provided evidence of Dr Appiahene’s and Hajia Salima Ahmed Tijani’s affiliations with the New Patriotic Party (NPP), including their involvement with TESCON, the NPP’s tertiary wing, and their close relationships with senior NPP officials.
According to the NDC’s letter, Dr Appiahene has been an active member of the NPP and has held prominent roles within the party in the Bono Region. The NDC argued that his political background and affiliation with the ruling party would compromise his impartiality as a member of the Electoral Commission.
However, the Council of State stated that they conducted a thorough evaluation of Dr Appiahene’s qualifications and capabilities, focusing on his expertise in electoral matters, impartiality, and integrity. The spokesperson for the Council emphasized that their decision was independent of any political considerations or party affiliations, as they prioritize the preservation of the integrity of the electoral process.
In an exclusive interview with Ransford Boakye on Pampaso, Asiedu Nketia revealed that the Council of State responded to their petition, emphasizing that their recommendation was solely based on an assessment of Dr Appiahene’s relevant skills and competencies for the role. He interpreted the Council’s response as qualifying him (Asiedu Nketia) for future appointment as the Electoral Umpire due to his competence, impeccable track record, and extensive knowledge of electoral management.
Some individuals have raised concerns that, despite the Council’s focus on competence, the broader political landscape and perceptions of bias may still cast doubt on the appointment. They stress the importance of ensuring transparency and public confidence through robust checks and balances in the appointment process.
As the controversy surrounding Dr Appiahene’s appointment continues, the Electoral Commission faces the challenge of addressing public concerns and maintaining a delicate balance between skill-based appointments and the need for perceived neutrality in its operations.
President Akufo-Addo swore in the three new members of the EC, namely Rev. Akua Ofori Boateng, Salima Ahmed Tijani, and Dr Peter Appiahene, at the Jubilee House. Ghanaians have expressed varied responses to these appointments, particularly considering that they took place 21 months before the 2024 elections.