A private legal practitioner Kwame Akuffo says president John Mahama is bound to accept the advice from the Council of State regarding election of the new Electoral Commission chair.
Rather than pleading to the president to appoint a man or woman of integrity to take over the new position, Mr Akuffo said the Council of State holds the key to the appointment and not the president.
He would rather the process is made transparent so that Ghanaians would know what advice is given to the president and whether or not the president respects that advice.
His comments come after the Ghana Bar Association provoked a debate on the need for the president to appoint a successor to the soon-to-retire Chairman of the EC, Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan.
They were quick in charging the president to make wide consultation to all stakeholders to ensure that the person finally appointed is credible and accepted by all.
While agreeing in part to the concerns shared by the GBA, Kwame Akuffo said Article 70 of the constitution makes it mandatory for the president to accept whatever advice proffered by the Council of State.
The article states: “The president shall, acting on the advice of the Council of State, appoint the Chairman, the Deputy Chairman, and other members of the Electoral Commission.”
This article, Akuffo argued is significantly different from Article 91 (3) which states that:
“The Council of State may upon request or its own initiative, consider and make recommendations on any matter being considered or dealt with by the president; a minister of state, Parliament or any other authority established by this constitution, except that the president, minister of state, Parliament or other authority shall not be required to act in accordance with any recommendation made by the council of state under this clause.”
The lawyer explained the framers of the constitution, knowing too well that the president is a political player in the whole election process decided to insulate the appointment of the EC from possible political manipulation.
“The appointment of the EC chair is substantively the job of the Council of State and not the president,” he said, adding, if that advise to the president is binding on him, then everybody has the right to know what the advice is.
Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan turns 70 next year and by the Constitution, he must go on retirement for a new EC boss to be appointed.