General News of Thu, 2 Aug 201819
Jean Mensa is EC boss
President Akufo-Addo in a group photograph with Jean Mensa (2nd left), Electoral Commissioner, Dr Eric Asare Bossman (left), Deputy Commissioner, Samuel Tettey (2nd (right), Deputy Commissioner and Adwoa Asuama Abrefa (right), a member of the Commission
President Akufo-Addo yesterday administered the oath office to the new chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Jean Adukwei Mensa and her two deputies, Dr Eric Bossman Asare and Samuel Tettey and Adwoa Asuama Abrefa, another member of the Commission.
An attempt by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and its agents to stall the process was thwarted by a ruling of the Supreme Court following the dismissal of the former EC boss, Charlotte Osei and her two deputies, Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwah on stated grounds of incompetence and misconduct.
President Akufo-Addo declared that neither he nor his party wants to have a hand in the activities of the EC.
He noted that “our only interest is to have an Electoral Commission that organizes credible and transparent elections; we do not want electoral victories handed to us by officials of the Electoral Commission. We want electoral victories handed to us by the people of Ghana.”
The President admitted that he came to office at time of considerable anxiety in the country about the work of the Commission.
He said: “It’s the quality of your work that will reassure the Ghanaian people that the democratic system of government that they have chosen for their country will be properly nurtured by an electoral system that allows their voices to be plainly and loudly heard.”
President Akufo-Addo, who has been fighting for human rights and advocating for credible electoral process in the country, pointed out that “the count, the collation, the declaration of results cannot and should not be more important than the sacred God-given right of citizen casting his or her ballot.”
That, he said, was because “elections are about those who cast the vote, not those who count, not those who supervise, not those who transmit and not those who declare.”
“The heart of democratic process is giving effect to the choices made by those who cast the votes.”
“Let the events of the past year guide you. Remember that now more than ever, every single decision you take will be scrutinized to the letter. That, however, should not scare you, and indeed, let no one try to cow you into submission,” added.
On the contrary, he said “let this expectation of the Ghanaian people spur you on to great heights, and above all work so that the will of the Ghanaian people is upheld.”
He expressed confidence in the ability of the EC officials to bring integrity, professionalism, independence and fairness of mind to the EC.
“They have been carefully selected and, indeed, the Council of State in proffering its advice, in its letter dated 26th July, 2018, to the President on their appointment, stated that they were all eminently qualified to hold the respective positions, and therefore recommended that they be appointed accordingly,” he noted.
The President quoted Article 46 of the Constitution which states that in the performance of their functions, they would not be “subject to the direction or control of any person or authority.”
“They answer only to the Ghanaian people, the Constitution of the Republic and their conscience.”
Call To Duty
He drew their attention to the recommendations in the report of the Brobbey Commission of Inquiry on the creation of new regions which has been forwarded to the EC for implementation.
“The Commission, as per the recommendations of the report, is to organise referenda in the six areas of the demand for the creation of new regions. The nationwide referendum on Article 55; an entrenched Clause 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 are all matters which are immediately before you.
On behalf of her colleagues, Jean Mensa expressed profound gratitude to the President, government and people of Ghana for the honour done them, saying “we are humbled and motivated by the confidence reposed in us.”
She reiterated their commitment to discharge their duties without fear or favour, malice or ill-will.
While acknowledging the work of her predecessors, Mrs Mensa said the team was aware of the weight of expectation.
She said they would work with all the stakeholders to organise free, fair and credible elections in the country.