CDD-GHANA STATEMENT ON THE EXIT OF MS. ANNA BOSSMAN FROM CHRAJ
The Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) received with dismay news of the departure of the distinguished Acting Chair of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) from the esteemed institution.
We deeply appreciate and applaud the invaluable services she rendered to Ghana’s human rights, anti-corruption, and good governance agenda during her tenure at CHRAJ and we wish her well in her future endeavors.
Ms. Anna Bossman’s departure deals a mortal blow to CHRAJ as an institution, and an even bigger blow to the nation’s perennial battle against corruption, human rights abuses, and administrative injustices. Coming in the wake of the retirement of Mr. Emile Short as Chair of the Commission, the resignation of Ms. Bossman further compounds the daunting task of prosecuting the Fourth Republic’s public accountability, anti-corruption, public protection, and good governance agenda, which has all but stagnated. This development also draws attention to the long-standing but anomalous and dangerous practice in which our presidents have kept in a state of uncertainty occupants of top positions in some key state governance institutions, perpetually keeping them in acting capacities, particularly those whose functions include “policing” the presidency and the government at large.
Regardless of the cause, Ms. Bossman’s resignation should therefore draw attention to the urgent need to adopt a constitutional, statutory, or even a sensible convention limiting the length of time allowed for keeping appointees to these state governance watchdog institutions in “acting” capacities. Ms. Bossman has been kept in the professionally uncomfortable position of “Acting” Chair of CHRAJ for nearly a decade by two administrations. Keeping officials of such important institutions in limbo as “acting” cannot be good for the security of their tenure and self-confidence. Worse still, it exposes occupants of such positions and the institutions to the direct and indirect manipulation of governments for government’s own and/or partisan advantage. This is patently offensive to the public interest.
CDD-Ghana calls on the Mills administration to quickly fill this and other vacancies in the top hierarchy of CHRAJ, guided by the same spirit that informed previous governments in appointing the inestimable Mr. Emile Short and Ms. Anna Bossman to the leadership of CHRAJ, a state institution so strategic to the advancement of the good governance agenda in Ghana’s Fourth Republic. That is, we call upon the government to fill this and other vacancies in the leadership positions at CHRAJ (and any other such key governance institution) with persons possessing both the requisite exceptional qualifications and the necessary political neutrality to exercise their duties without fear or favour. The credibility of the leadership of CHRAJ and similar public accountability institutions would be much enhanced if the appointing authorities were to come to an agreement to make the parliamentary approval of the president’s nominees for these positions subject to a super majority of votes instead of the normal simple majority.
All things considered, the crisis at CHRAJ presents a fine opportunity for the Mills administration to reaffirm its commitment to the prosecution of the fledgling national public anti-corruption, public protection and human rights agenda.
Long Live CHRAJ; Long Live Ghana’s Democracy and Good Governance Agenda