Can We All Talk About Charlotte Osei For A Minute?

The world has been focused on the lunacy that has become the US presidential race circa 2016 that it may have overlooked that Ghana – the land of my birth – is also going through a period of election madness. You may not think so, but the West African nation of 27 million citizens provides vital services that make life so comfy in the west. Every time you bite into a Snickers bar or purchase a new piece of furniture, chances are you’re eating a bit of cocoa from Ghana’s plantations or resting your tush on timber from our forests.

You’re welcome.

We have not gathered here to talk about the raw materials and agricultural bounty that feeds voracious American and European factories and industry. You and I are going to have a seat at this table and sip some hot tea on this auspicious Day of the Girl to discuss woman, the legend, the maverick, Charlotte Osei.

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If you’ve been repelled and appalled by Donald Trump’s utterances about women, you will find yourself in familiar territory where Ghana’s presidential race is concerned. It has been a cesspool of misogyny, underachievement, callousness, feeblemindedness, insolence and male chauvinism, all wrapped in an inflated sense of self-importance by many of those running with a sprinkling of patriarchy on top. NOTHING gets done in Ghana without a dash of good ol’ patriarchy. You would do well to remember that.

It is amid this backdrop that Charlotte Osei, Chairperson for the Electoral Commission, had the unenviable job of weeding out the unfit, incompetent and undesirable from the running for the very important job of leading Ghana and its citizenry in the function of the highest position of the land. In all, 16 political parties filed paperwork to participate in the general election. Of that number, only 4 (NDC, the incumbent; NPP, the main opposition; CPP, the party of Nkrumah and some dude running independently) qualified to participate in the general elections.

It’s like watching the always-dismal WEAC exam results being broadcast, only this time it’s our political leadership on critical display. Likening this ragtag bunch of political hacks to a secondary school, only 25% of the class took the time to read, study and properly fill in the answers correctly. Honestly: If you can’t even properly fill out the paperwork to contest for the election, why should you have a shot on the ballot at all?

Some of the errors boggle the mind. For instance, Akua Donkor is said to have listed 1998 as the year of birth on her submitted nomination form. Now I know Madam Donkor has famously rebuffed the use of English as her mode of communication, but 1998 is the same in Twi, English, French or Zulu, and it ain’t the year when her momma dropped that enormous head into this physical realm.

You're only as old as you feel. Heeyyy!
You’re only as old as you feel. I feel like a 90’s baby. Heeyyy!

Other errors and inconsistencies in applications included fraudulent signatures from surrogates signing for more than one party (read fraud) and a whole host of things that will come to light in the coming days.

Over the past few months, Charlotte Osei has weathered wuthering personal attacks from petulant men who are unaccustomed to women in such firm control of their collective destinies. In June of this year, Ken Agyapong, MP and NPP financier alleged that she had risen to her position only as a result of providing sexual favors to influential men. He says he’ll never apologize for his outlandish words. Prophet Isaac Owusu Bempah prophesied doom for the Chairwoman, saying she would ‘die’ if she calluded to rig the election in favor of the NDC. Following his disqualification to contest for the presidency on December 7th, Hassan Ayariga, standard-bearer for All People’s Congress (APC) called the EC boss “stupid”, “foolish” and wondered aloud who the f— she thought she was. Akane Adams, PNC National Treasurer attempted to trash Ms. Osei’s competence in her job for failing to instruct her subordinates to point out the errors on the submitted forms and giving the contestants the opportunity fix them. Presidential hopeful Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings has threatened to “spill the beans” about Ms. Osei if she doesn’t reverse the disqualification decision.

"Look. What I'm trying to say is...Ion even care. Until you do right by yourself, everything you even think about is gonna fail."
“Look. What I’m trying to say is…Ion even care. Until you do right by yourself, everything you even think about is gonna fail.”

These people are all jokers. Again, if you can’t fill out a simple form, how can we expect your team to negotiate and read complex documents, trade deals and documents that affect the lives and livelihood of millions of Ghanaians? The answer is, we can’t. As usual, a fairly large swathe of Ghanaians have expressed their displeasure at the EC’s decision to hold these people accountable for this failure to perform this basic task. There is something about Ghanaians that is allergic to excellence where the powerful are concerned. We expect students to get top marks. We expect waakye sellers to get their recipe right every day, day after day. But expecting political leaders to fill out a simple form or following simple instructions? (The instructions from the EC were to pay the filing fees by bank deposit, and one political party actually showed up with a vinyl bag full of money!) No, no. We must show leniency and give them a do over. There are no do overs at this level! You think this is a game?

But let’s talk about Charlotte Osei. She has emerged as the real heroine in all this. Who the f— does she think she is? I’m so glad Ayariga asked! She has a Master’s of Law from Queen’s University. She has an MBL from the University of South Africa. She has served as the Chairperson for National Commission for Civic Education and NOW she is the Chairperson for the Electoral Commission and DAT CHICK who told you that your submitted application is bumbaclot. In short, she has treated you with the contempt that you deserve. No one cares if Afari Gyan – Ms. Osei’s predecessor – expended the energy to accommodate your mediocrity. How do you think the Company of Nine would feel if Frodo had asked for a do destroy the Ring of Power? Are you mad? It’s a new day, and Miss Charlotte is having none of it. You hear? NONE! Come correct or you will be sent home!

There is a new sheriff in town, and her name is Charlotte Teflon Osei. She’s above your petty reproach. She’s Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes. She’s Morgan Freeman as God. She’s Jean Grey as Phoenix. Your tantrums are mere noise and foolishness!

Will you SHUT UP and pay attention to what you are writing on this form?!?
Will you SHUT UP and pay attention to what you are writing on this form?!?

All of this (and future) embarrassment could have been avoided if everyone would just take a page from Ama One-T Ata Aidoo’s page and hold themselves and others to a higher standard. It’s time political aspirants (and the ruling political elite, for that matter) to start paying attention to the details. Minutia is important. You are not butchering meat outchea. You’re supposed to be trying to run a country.

Charlotte Osei, ayekoo. You’ve done well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Madam Charlotte really took a bold stand with her announcement yesterday. It’s about time we stood up to the principles we claim to have and want to reinforce. If I’ve never been proud to be a woman, then yesterday would have been my first time. Deep respect for her. Hope she’ll continue to do her best to bring integrity back into public office🙌👌👍👏

    • She took a bold stand, as you aptly say! We’re not accustomed to seeing this sort of strength of character in the political realm. It’s been a race to the bottom for far too long.

      I sincerely hope that this will be one of many first steps in elevating the vie for office and the discourse. Like you, I’m equally proud!

  • Lol, nailed it as always 💁🏾

  • Certainly, all the sloppy presidential aspirants don’t deserve to come anywhere close to the presidency. Certainly, many men can’t handle been told what to do by a woman. And this would all be an open-and-shut case if we were just talking about diligence here. However, some of her reasons for disqualifying some of the aspirants are plain illogical and smack of an abuse of power. How, for instance, is a candidate to know that one who endorsed him or her would go ahead and endorse another, thereby invalidating the first endorsement. That’s not a lack of diligence; that could be just fraud by said endorser. Wouldn’t the commonsensical thing to do then be to notify the candidate? In fact, some lawyers I respect have even found some of those decisions against the EC’s own rules. I was not planning to vote for any of the “disqualified” candidates. In fact, I would love to get rid of most of them. But justice is justice is justice. Besides, too many of our decisions at the highest levels in this country defy logic. (Witness the original decision to use NHIS cards as proof of citizenship when one did not need to be a citizen to have an NHIS card).

  • Ama

    Anyone who knows Charlotte knows that this is totally Charlotte. 😊 Do remember her in your prayers.

    • We must all lift her name up to the Most High. May she flourish and spread her influence both here and abroad. *shakes under the anointing*

  • Well done Madam EC.Please carry on with the good work.
    Wonderful write up my dear sister and colleague Osofo Bi.lol

    • LOLOLOL! This Osofo life ain’t easy. Go with God and be blessed.

  • Charlotte Teflon Osei, end of discussion. Thank you Abena

  • Hi,

    Great article. I however noted a couple of typos.

    The first pic has a caption with “iOd”. Not sure what that is.

    Second this phrase “There is something about Ghanaians is allergic”

    Will now go ahead to praise the article 😁

    • “Ion”= slang for “I don’t”. It was intentional.

      Second phrase is missing a “that”. Thanks for your queries and input. 🙂

  • I beamed with smiles when I saw what Charlotte did. “This woman got balls” and I LOVE that. It’s high time someone held people accountable. I don’t know why we always want to cut some corners and can’t do this right from the jump. It’s sad and disappointing that the caliber of presidential aspirants is not to the task especially when one was a former First Lady and the other a successful business man. Something went wrong and they should look in their camps to figure it out than threaten a lady just doing her job. If they were doing theirs they wouldn’t be in this mess. (Loved the Waakye line 😉)

  • I loved reading this. Your tone and style of writing is da bomb. I’m not Ghanaian, but as a fellow West African, I say big ups to her. Other countries must follow suit especially Nigeria!
    Keep on 🙂
    sewafolie.com

    • Thank you for the kind compliment! Let’s see what results her tough style produces. In the meanwhile, I’m totally here for it. ✊🏾

  • Ama

    Go Charlotte! I was indifferent to her before, but now I am a raving fan! It will take women like Charlotte Osei to bring some discipline into our body politic in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa! She certainly is Teflon-skinned, an important armour in our nasty misogynistic society.
    Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings with a first class education from Achimota College and KNUST, plus oodles of money, has failed twice in a row to complete her form correctly? If she can’t do it herself, is she too miserly to pay someone to do it for her? And then threatens to ‘spill the beans’? Puhlease!
    Great article, as always Ms. M.