IEA boss named as new EC Chair

The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has nominated the Executive Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Jean Adokwei Mensa as the new chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC).
The President made the announcement in a statement issued yesterday from the Presidency and signed by Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare.

Other persons, according to the statement, nominated for appointment by President Akufo-Addo to the commission include Samuel Tettey – Deputy Chairperson, Dr Eric Asare Bossman – Deputy Chairperson and Ms Adwoa Asuama Abrefa – Member of Commission.

The statement indicated that President 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.

President Akufo-Addo on June 28, 2018 removed the Chairperson of the EC, Mrs 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.

Mrs 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 justified the move, some members of the opposition challenged it.

They claimed because Mrs Osei, was appointed by then-President John Dramani Mahama that was why she was hounded out to enable the New Patriotic Party (NPP) rig the election in 2020.

Meanwhile, the Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Mr Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr., 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 Baako Jnr., 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, had also sued the Attorney General against the removal of Charlotte Osei.

But, a Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Dame, in an interview on Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana, barely a fortnight ago said the appointment of a new EC chair would go ahead regardless of the legal suits.

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

It will be recalled that prior to the 2016 election, 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, described her as arrogant, following her response to 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,” Mr Kwakye said.

He made this remark after Madam Jean Mensa insisted that the presidential and vice-presidential debates would go on with or without NDC’s participation.

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

Mr Adams also threatened that 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 organise it? You don’t go and engage one side and leave the other. We are a serious political party.”

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 organisations 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.

Brief Profiles of other nominees

Mr Samuel Tettey

Mr. Samuel Tettey is currently the Director, Electoral Services (Elections) at the Electoral Commission, a position he has held since January 2014. He has held several positions in the Electoral Commission, including District Electoral Officer in the Awutu/Effutu/Senya District, and Central Regional Director of the EC, a position he held from 2005 to 2011. He has been a member of many Election Observer Missions to countries such as the Kingdom of Lesotho, Guinea and Liberia. He is married with three children.

Dr Eric Asare Bossman

Dr Eric Asare Bossman is currently the Head of the Department of Political Science at the University of Ghana, Legon. He holds a Master of Arts Degree in International Affairs from Ohio University, and, also, has a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Political Science from West Virginia University. He is the author of several policy papers in the areas of international politics, democracy in Ghana, and has teaching and research interests in the fields of Comparative Public Policy, Democratic Development, Public Policy Analysis, Human Rights, International Security, Globalisation, and Forced Migration.

Ms Adwoa Asuama Abrefa

Ms Adwoa Asuama Abrefa is a corporate legal practitioner, with specialisation in land/property acquisitions, corporate law, and corporate governance. She is currently the General Manager, Legal and Corporate Affairs, at Cirrus Oil Services Limited, and holds an LLM Master of Laws Degree in Oil and Gas, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law and Political Science from the University of Ghana, Legon. She is married with one child.

 

Story: Kofi OWUSU TAWIAH

Writer’s Email: kofi.tawiah@todaygh.com

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