Sophia Akuffo weighs in on controversial appointments to EC; says conflict of interest need not be actual, it can be potential

Former Chief Justice of Ghana, Madam Sophia Akuffo has weighed in on President Nana Akufo-Addo’s swearing-in of three new members to the Electoral Commission (EC).

According to her, there is a potential for conflict of interest to occur.

She has thus advised that in appointing persons to undertake roles in the public sector, the appointing power must take into consideration the aforementioned issue.

Also, the former Chief Justice pointed out that since the EC dealt with matters concerning national elections, appointments made to the outfit must be done such that it is not disadvantageous to any political party.

“There are standards for the public service… and conflict of interest is something that always can be dealt with, whether it is written in black and white or not… and conflict of interest does not necessarily have to be actual: it can be potential.

“In doing the right thing in public service, a lot of it depends on public perception. And I think when it comes to something to do with national elections and so on, public perception is very important.

She further added that “everything in this world that you can arrange in such a way that the dealings are at arm’s length, is better than somebody’s arm is twisted and another person’s arm is in their pocket.”

The stateswoman’s assertion follows the various voices that have rebuked President AKufo-Addo for inducting three persons—Rev. Akua Ofori Boateng, Salima Ahmed Tijani and Dr. Peter Appiahene—into the office of the EC, which occurred on March 20.

According to some members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and other CSOs, two out of the three candidates are known affiliates of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Additionally, Dr. Peter Appiahene and Hajia Salima Ahmed Tijani’s immediate resignation from the EC is being demanded by the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO).

According to CODEO, the appointment has the tendency to make the EC look partisan and affect its credibility in future elections, hence their demand that the two persons be ousted from office.

Rev. Dr Fred Deegbe, who represented CODEO in a press briefing on Wednesday, April 5, therefore proffered that the two newly appointed EC members resigned voluntarily, as it will “be in the supreme interest of our country’s continual democratic progress, election peace and credibility and indeed, the overall national interest”.

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