Electoral Commission (EC) board members Dr. Peter Appiahene and Hajia Salima Ahmed Tijani were recently appointed by President Akufo-Addo, prompting the major opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), to file a petition with the Council of State.
In the specific case of Dr. Peter Appiahene, political parties, civil society organizations, faith-based organizations, political watchers, and other concerned neutrals have criticized what they consider to be the appointment of a widely known hardliner and irredeemably partisan New Patriotic Party activist to fill one of the vacancies that have become available at the Electoral Commission as a result of the recent presidential election, according to a statement by the party’s chairman Johnson Asiedu Nketiah.
The National Democratic Congress shares the overwhelming majority of Ghanaians’ anger and concern about these recent appointments, which have the potential to undermine the Electoral Commission’s neutrality and objectivity and inevitably tarnish the reputation of the election administration body.
“It is our considered view that the appointment of a personality with such overwhelmingly partisan credentials into the Electoral Commission will hamper public confidence in the constitutionally independent body and undermine the conduct of free, fair and transparent elections in Ghana,” the statement added.
The party’s investigation of Hajia Salima Ahmed Tijani’s appointment revealed that she has well-known New Patriotic Party affiliations. In addition to being a member of the NPP, the ruling party, Hajia Salima is married to Sheikh T.B. Damba, a former NPP second national vice chairman and Ghana’s most recent ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 2017 to 2021.
“Indeed, her immediate family is well-rooted in the NPP tradition – her mother, one Hajia Samata Gifty Bukari was the first female Vice Chairperson of the New Patriotic Party in the Northern Region. Her sister, one Hajia Abibata Shani Mahama Zakariah, currently serves in President Akufo-Addo’s government as the Chief Executive Officer of the Microfinance and Loans Center (MASLOC), and is a former contestant in the New Patriotic Party 2020 Parliamentary primaries in the Yendi Constituency.
“It certainly goes without saying, that Hajia Salima evidently and perceptibly bears partisan coloration which clearly vitiates any hope of neutrality and impartiality required of a member of the Electoral Commission,” it was captured in the statement.
It states that in order to foster trust and confidence in the Electoral Commission, its composition and membership matter much. It expresses this in full agreement with CODEO and the other Civil Society Organizations who have already remarked openly on this topic. Regrettably, it is blatantly obvious that these appointees’ responsibilities and positions inside the NPP undermine their ability to operate impartially in any way.
Read the full statement below: