The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), has expressed its dissatisfaction with the nomination of IEA Executive Director, Jean Adukwei Mensa as the new Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC).
The party in a statement said it is shocked by the nomination, given that President Nana Akufo-Addo until his nomination, had assured that persons to be nominated as EC officials would be persons “whose integrity and political neutrality would be above board.”
“For President Akufo –Addo to proceed contrary to his earlier assurance to appoint a known pro-NPP and on-avowed anti NDC person like Mrs. Jean Mensa to chair a commission which would organize elections invoking the NPP and NDC as the main contenders defies all series of decency, fairness and justice, and amounts to a gross abuse of the discretionary powers of appointment vested in him by the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana,” the statement signed by the General Secretary of the NDC added.
The party said it will in due course provide details of what it calls “open and covert activities of Jean Mensa which makes her unfit to occupy the high position of Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of the Republic of Ghana.”
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 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 organization if indeed they want to be taken seriously in this country. Political parties are not minor organizations 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 nomination of the four officials 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 to 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.
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.