EC Chair, Jean Mensa

The Electoral Commission (EC) is a constitutional body created by the Constitution 1992 of Ghana. It consists of a Chairperson, two Deputy Chairpersons and four other members.

The current Chairperson of the EC is Jean Adukwei Mensa. She and her two deputies, Eric Asare Bossman and Samuel Tettey, were sworn into office in August 2018.

Despite the controversies which surrounded their appointment vis-à-vis backlash from the leading and biggest opposition party in Ghana; National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Jean Mensa led EC was able to conduct the 2020 elections creditably and peacefully.

One would have thought that, after the 2020 elections, the EC would enjoy some respite from naysayers. This however has not been the case. A few days ago, a public advocacy group, Fix the Country Movement has presented a petition for the removal of the EC Chairperson together with her two deputies.

The epicentre of the petition stems from the disenfranchisement of Santrokofi, Akpafu, Lolobi and Likpe (SALL) residents in the 2020 parliamentary elections. In the opinion of the petitioners, the actions of the EC officials, if considered contextually, amount to misbehaviour and incompetence, which is a ground for the removal of persons of their position.

It is important to note that the position of EC Chair is one that enjoys the security of tenure. The position is equivalent to that of a Justice of the Court of Appeal. Before the EC Chairperson can be removed from office, the provisions of Article 146 (1) of the Constitution 1992 of Ghana needs to be adhered to.

The said procedure requires that a petition be sent to the President with same referred to the Chief Justice. The Chief Justice shall then determine whether there is a prima facie case against the EC chair or her deputies. Where the Chief Justice establishes that a prima facie case has been established, a committee shall be set up to investigate the petition and make recommendations.

The said recommendations of the committee shall then be transmitted to the Chief Justice for him to forward same to the President. Where the recommendation is for the removal of the EC Chair and/or her deputies, the President shall proceed to appoint a committee who shall then advise him on the recommendations of the Chief Justice’s committee. Thereafter, the EC Chair and/or her deputies can then be removed from office.

Jean Mensa’s immediate predecessor Charlotte Osei, did not get to retire in office as Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan did. This was because some concerned workers of the Electoral Commission in July 2017 petitioned the President for her removal and after following due process, her stay as the EC chair was short-lived.

The petition presented by Fix the Country Movement, in my opinion, is calling for the heads of Jean Mensa and her deputies on grounds of incompetence and breach of constitutional provisions.

The group opines that the EC bosses should be removed from office because after the coming into force of the Guan District Local Government (Guan District Assembly) Instrument, 2020 and pending the creation of the Guan Constituency, eligible voters in the Guan District were not presented with the opportunity to vote in the Parliamentary Election. They were, however, promised that parliamentary elections would be organised as soon as practicable.

It has been more than a year since the 2020 parliamentary elections were held and the people of SALL have still not been given the opportunity to exercise their franchise.

This, in the opinion of the Fix the Country Movement, is unacceptable, hence the EC bosses must give way for competent persons to stir the affairs of the EC.

Will the fate of Charlotte Osei befall Jean Mensa or will she follow in the footsteps of Charlotte’s immediate predecessor? Only time will tell!

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You can contact the writer through email at kimprisky@gmail.com.