Jean Mensa pledges to work to build good EC

BY: Donald Ato Dapatem

Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa will today step into office as the new Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) after she had been sworn into office by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House in Accra Wednesday.

Until her appointment, Mrs Mensa was the Executive Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).

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She replaces Mrs Charlotte Osei, who was removed from office by the President, on the recommendation of a committee set up by the Chief Justice.

Two others — Mr Samuel Tettey, the Director of Electoral Services (Elections) at the EC, and Dr Eric Asare Bossman, the Head of the Department of Political Science at the University of Ghana, Legon — were also sworn in as Deputy commissioners of the EC, while Ms Adwoa Asuama Abrefa, a corporate legal practitioner, was also sworn in as a member of the EC.

Mr Tettey and Dr Bossman replace two former deputy commissioners of the EC, Mr Amadu Sulley and Mrs Georgina Opoku-Amankwah, who were also removed from office by the President, on the recommendation of the same committee.


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Ms Abrefa replaces Mrs Paulina Dadzawa, who retired as a member of the EC on April 30, 2018.

Ceremony

Performing the swearing-in ceremony, President Akufo-Addo said the whole process leading to the removal from office of the three persons was at the instance of the rule of law and that neither his party nor he had any hand in the proceedings.

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“Our only interest is to have an EC that organises credible, transparent elections. We do not want electoral victories handed to us by officials of the EC; we want electoral victories handed to us by the people of Ghana,” he added.

He said the three were assuming office at a time when there was considerable anxiety in the nation about the work of the EC and that it was the quality of their work that would reassure the people.

He said the quality of their work would enable the people to believe that the democratic system of government that they had chosen for their governance would be properly nurtured by an electoral system that allowed the people’s voices to be plainly and loudly heard.

No honeymoon

The President told them that they would not have any honeymoon because on their desks would be the recommendations of the Report of the Brobbey Commission of Inquiry on the creation of new regions which, in accordance with the Constitution, he had forwarded for a referendum.

He said they would also undertake a referendum to determine whether or not full democracy should be extended to local government, the 2019 District Assembly elections, the registration of eligible voters for the 2020 elections and the conduct of the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.

He expressed confidence in their abilities to surmount those hurdles and advised them to be guided by the events of the past year, knowing that every single decision they took would be scrutinised to the letter.

“That, however, should not scare you, and, indeed, let no one try to cow you into submission. On the contrary, let this expectation of the Ghanaian people spur you on to greater heights, and, above all, work so that the will of the Ghanaian people is upheld,” the President added.

Mrs Mensah

In her remarks, the new EC Chair assured the President that the commission would work to the satisfaction of the people, saying it would rely on the institutional memory of the staff of the EC and their experience.

She stated that the electoral process of every Republic was the midwife that delivered its democracy and that they were aware of the responsibility and the expectation associated with their work.

He stated that they were prepared and that by God’s unfailing grace and hard work they would succeeded.

She acknowledged the work of their predecessors, adding that they would work with all stakeholders to build a good EC and hold themselves accountable to the laws of Ghana

Background

In July last year, President Akufo-Addo received separate petitions for the removal of Mrs Osei and her two deputies and referred the petitions to the Chief Justice, as stipulated by the 1992 Constitution, for further action.

The petition for the removal of the EC Chairperson was signed by some members of the EC, while that for the removal of the two deputies had the signature of Emmanuel Korsi Senya, a concerned citizen of Ghana.

A five-member committee was subsequently set up by the Chief Justice to investigate the allegations made against the three, and after months of work, it recommended the removal of the three persons on the basis of stated misbehavior and incompetence, pursuant to Article 146 (1) of the 1992 Constitution.

Pursuant to Article 146 (9), the President acted on the recommendation of the committee and subsequently removed the three persons.
However, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) vehemently criticised the President for removing the three persons from the top positions of the EC.

Profiles

Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa 

Mrs Mensa was the Executive Director of the IEA, Ghana’s first public policy think-tank, and Co-coordinator of the Ghana Political Parties Programme established by the IEA.
She is a lawyer by profession and has carved a niche for herself in the field of policy research and advocacy. She has been involved in the development of policies such as the Presidential Transition Act of 2012, the Revised 1992 Constitution of Ghana (draft), the Political Parties Funding Bill and the Revised Political Parties Bill.
In 2010, she served as a Commissioner of the 1992 Constitution Review Commission and is currently a member of the government’s committee tasked with preparing the Affirmative Action Bill.
She is married with three children.

Mr Samuel Tettey 

Mr Tettey was the Director of Electoral Services (Elections) at the EC, a position he had held since January 2014. 

He held several positions in the EC, including District Electoral Officer in the Awutu/Effutu/Senya District and the Central Regional Director of the EC, a position he held from 2005 to 2011.

He was a member of many election observer missions to countries such as Lesotho, Guinea and Liberia.

He is married with three children.

Dr Eric Asare Bossman 

Dr Bossman was the Head of the Department of Political Science at the University of Ghana, Legon. 

He holds a Master of Arts (MA) degree in International Affairs from the Ohio University and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Political Science from the West Virginia University.

He is the author of several policy papers in the areas of international politics and 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 Abrefa was a corporate legal practitioner, with specialisation in land/property acquisitions, corporate law and corporate governance.

She was also the General Manager in charge of Legal and Corporate Affairs at Cirrus Oil Services Limited and holds a Master of Laws (LL.M) degree in Oil and Gas and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Law and Political Science from the University of Ghana, Legon.

She is married with one child.