The Executive Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs, (IEA) Jean Adukwei Mensa, has been nominated as the new Chairperson of the Electoral Commission.

This was announced in a statement from the Presidency on Monday, July 23, 2018.

Other persons nominated for appointment by President Akufo-Addo to the Commission include;

1. Samuel Tettey – Deputy Chairperson
2. Dr. Eric Asare Bossman – Deputy Chairperson
3. Ms. Adwoa Asuama Abrefa – Member of Commission

The statement, signed by the Chief of Staff, Frema Opare-Osei said Akufo-Addo, had “sought the advice of the Council of State in accordance with Article 70(2) of the Constitution, for the appointment of a new Chairperson, two Deputy Chairpersons and a Member of the Electoral Commission (EC).”

“President Akufo-Addo is hopeful that the Council of State will discharge its constitutional duty expeditiously, to enable him make these critical appointments to this very important institution of State,” the statement added.

Charlotte Osei removed

President Akufo-Addo on June 28, 2018, removed the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Charlotte Osei and her two deputies – Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwa from office upon the recommendation of a committee set up by the Chief Justice, to investigate separate complaints brought by some Ghanaian citizens.

Charlotte Osei was accused of various procurement breaches, whilst the deputies were also found guilty of same offenses as well as financial malfeasance.

Although government spokespersons have justified the move, some members of the opposition have challenged it, saying Madam Charlotte Osei, who was appointed by then-President John Mahama, was only hounded out to enable the NPP rig the election in 2020.

Court cases

The Editor-in-Chief of the Crusading Guide Newspaper, Mr. Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, has sued the government over the dismissal of Charlotte Osei.

In a writ invoking the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court for the interpretation of the Constitution, Mr. Kwaku Baako argued that the Chief Justice Committee which investigated petitions for the removal of the EC Boss exceeded its constitutional mandate.

He thus asked the Supreme Court to pronounce the removal inconsequential.

His suit came after another Ghanaian, Fafali Nyonator, also sued the Attorney General against the removal of Charlotte Osei.

Supreme Court can’t stop President

But Godfred Dame, a Deputy Attorney General in an interview on Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana, had said the appointment of a new EC chair will go ahead regardless of the legal lawsuits.

About Jean Adukwei Mensa

Mrs. Jean Mensa is the Executive Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), Ghana’s premier public policy institute and Coordinator of the Ghana Political Parties Programme.

The institute is one of 51 policy research organizations in 23 developing countries that receive multi-year funding from the Think Tank Initiative.

She is a lawyer with experience in the area of policy research and advocacy.

She also worked on the Presidential Transition Act of 2012; the Revised 1992 Constitution of Ghana (draft); the Political Parties Funding Bill and the Revised Political Parties Bill.

She advocated for the review of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution and served as a Commissioner of the Government-established Constitution Review Commission.

She worked on the government committee tasked with preparing the Affirmative Action Bill.

She is married with three children.

Jean Mensah not in the good books of NDC

It must however be stated that Madam Jean Mensa has not been in the good books of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Prior to election 2016, the NDC, which was then the ruling government, boycotted the IEA’s presidential debate, which meant that then President John Dramani Mahama, who was the NDC’s candidate, did not participate in the national debate.

Some NDC members who were officials of the government, including a deputy minister of communications, Felix Kwakye Ofosu, had described her as arrogant following her response to the concerns the NDC raised at the time over the debate.

“She absolutely has no right and her wings must be clipped by that organisation if indeed they want to be taken seriously in this country. Political parties are not minor organisations neither are they school boys to be summoned by the IEA as and when it chooses to debate,” Kwakye Ofosu said.

Kwakye Ofosu said this after Jean Mensa insisted that the presidential and vice-presidential debates would go on with or without the National Democratic Congress (NDC)’s participation.

The national organizer of the NDC, Kofi Adams, accused the civil society organisation of failing to consult the party before announcing an outline for the debates.

Mr. Adams also threatened the NDC would boycott the debates, saying: “IEA cannot just announce a programme, it has not engaged the party on. We are surprised… So if the party has their own programme how are you going to organize it? You don’t go and engage one side and leave the other. We are a serious political party.”

But speaking to the media, Mrs. Mensah said it was not mandatory for the IEA to consult political parties before coming up with its plan to organise the debates.

She said the IEA’s policy over the years had been to launch its election activities before engaging the parties, adding that the organisation would go ahead to organise the debate with or without the NDC, which it did.

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