President Nana Akufo-Addo’s choice of Mrs Jean Mensa as next Chair of the Electoral Commission is a good one, outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson, has said.
President Nana Akufo-Addo, on Monday 23 July 2018, named the Executive Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), as the new Chair to replace Mrs Charlotte Osei, whom he sacked along with her two deputies Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwah, over procurement breaches and incompetence, per the recommendations of a committee set up by Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo to probe the three commissioners.
Apart from Mrs Mensa, the newly-appointed deputies are a political science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Dr Eric Asare Bossman; and Samuel Tettey, Director of Electoral services in charge of elections at the Electoral Commission. Also Ms Adjoa Esuama Abrefa, a corporate legal practitioner with specialisation in land property acquisition, was named as a member of the commissioner.
The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and its Minority in Parliament, have accused the president of nominating pro-NPP and anti-NDC people to do a hatchet job for the NPP in the 2020 polls.
Former President John Dramani Mahama himself, on Tuesday, 24 July, described as regrettable, the removal of Mrs Osei and the subsequent nomination of Mrs Mensa as a replacement.
“Current controversy surrounding removal of EC Chair and deputies and subsequent appointment of new commissioners is regrettable and carries a potential to erode Ghana’s democratic credentials,” Mr Mahama posted on his Facebook Wall.
Mr Mahama, who is on an observer mission in Zimbabwe, attached a photo of himself and Ghana’s former EC Chair Dr Afari Gyan, and wrote that he was “proud to serve on the same mission with the highly-respected former EC Chair, Kwadwo Afari Gyan, who for almost two decades established Ghana’s worldwide reputation for credible election management”.
However, Ambassador Jackson told journalists in Accra on Tuesday, 24 July that: “I know Jean Mensa, I respect her, I think that she – from what I know – is a good choice to head the Electoral Commission”.
“If the opposition, whether it’s the NDC or other parties have concerns about her fitness for the job, then they should bring those concerns during the vetting process and let everyone have their say and people can make a decision and the public can make its views known.
“But it’s important the Electoral Commission gets back to work. For more than a year now the commission has been largely paralysed by this impeachment process, it plays a very important role in the country, it’s vital that Ghana moves ahead, both with the process of creating new regions – if voters wish to do that – and with electing local municipal officials as well as prepare for the 2020 parliamentary and presidential elections, so, let’s make certain everyone is satisfied with the people that the president has proposed, let’s get the commission back to work and move on so that the commission is in the best possible position to be a neutral arbiter for the next elections”, Mr Jackson advised.