Charlotte Osei's EC Sold Voters' Data
iWatchAfrica.org is one of those media sympathizers of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC). I arrived at this conclusion when in the wake of the teacup-storm that greeted President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s participation in the Vancouver-hosted “Women Deliver Conference,” iWatch, in a deviously calculated bid to scandalizing the Ghanaian leader, the aforementioned media watchdog published a list of Nana Akufo-Addo’s front-row cabinet appointees by deliberately omitting the name of Hajia Alima Mahama, the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development. It was about the only way that the operatives of iWatch could mendaciously justify their assertion that the Akufo-Addo cabinet contained only 26-percent women and not the more accurate figure of 31-percent.
The President had said at the “Women Deliver Conference” in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, that his cabinet was 30-percent women in composition. Now, iWatch seems to be at it again; this time, it comes in the form of a news story captioned “EC Sale of Voters’ Data to a Private Company a Breach of Data Protection Laws in Ghana” (Modernghana.com 6/27/19). The story is bylined Gideon Sarpong, and it claims that an Auditor-General’s Report on some “selected state institutions in 2018” revealed that as relatively far back as 2016, when Mrs. Charlotte Osei was Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), operatives of the EC breached the law by selling the particulars of registered voters to an Accra-based software development company called Bysystem Ltd, which the latter establishment, in turn, sold to a financial services company for an undisclosed sum of money.
Now, my beef with this iWatchAfrica.org-generated story is that the story has a wide-angle picture of the current Chairperson of the EC, Mrs. Jean Odukwei Mensa, directly under the caption of the news story and the name of the reporter, Mr. Gideon Sarpong immediately above the same. Which may be all well and good for propaganda purposes. But absolutely nowhere in the contents of the story is any pertinent reference made to the extant Chairperson of the EC, that is, Mrs. Charlotte Osei who was EC Chairperson at the time when the aforesaid criminal sale of the data of registered voters was made. So, the uncritical reader is left with the erroneous impression that, in fact, such flagrant legal violation had taken place under the watch of Mrs. Mensa, thus deviously feeding into the toothless attempt by National Democratic Congress’ operatives like Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia to portray Mrs. Mensa as a grossly incompetent Chief Administrator of the EC.
But, of course, as we have had occasion several times in the recent past to remind our readers and the general Ghanaian public, Mrs. Mensa is without question or incontestably the best qualified person to have been appointed to the politically high-wire post of EC Chair. Not only is the current EC Chair a respected authority on Constitutional Law, an area of the law in which neither of her two predecessors had either distinguished themselves or were remarkably conversant or versatile in, Mrs. Mensa has actually actively participated in the drafting of revisions to our election laws, which could not be credibly said of her predecessors, namely, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan and Mrs. Osei. These are some of the devious gimmicks of which the New Patriotic Party’s Communications Department or Directorate needs to be constantly on the lookout for and be prepared to promptly counter, if the Akufo-Addo Presidency is to readily shoot past Election 2020.
You see, Election 2020 is highly likely to be about both competing narratives of the relative performance track-records of both the ruling New Patriotic Party and the main opposition National Democratic Congress, as well as the ability of the communicators of these two major parties to deftly and effectively get their messages across to the Ghanaian electorate. Absolutely nothing ought to be taken for granted, especially vis-à-vis the economic development and quality-of-life improvement tally sheets of these two major political parties. It would also be politically suicidal, especially on the part of the operatives of the ruling New Patriotic Party, for anybody to facilely assume that both our leaders and our politicians and the general Ghanaian voting public are on the same page, vis-à-vis the cold reality on the ground, as it were.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
June 28, 2019