General News of Tue, 17 Jul 201843
New EC Chair: Will it be Adinyira, Mensa-Bonsu, or Akwetey?
President Nana Akufo-Addo, like his immediate predecessor John Mahama, albeit under different circumstances, has been presented with the heavy responsibility and privilege of appointing a new Chair of the Electoral Commission, following his removal of former Chair Mrs Charlotte Osei and her two deputies Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwah.
Mr Akufo-Addo, a few weeks ago, hinted at the kind of person he would be appointing to replace Mrs Osei but has kept the name close to his chest.
Speaking publicly on the dismissal of the three commissioners for the first time on Saturday, 30 June 2018, at a town hall meeting with Ghanaians in Nouakchott, Mauritania, ahead of the conduct of the 31st AU Summit, the president said, as far as the replacement of the three is concerned, “We are not looking for persons who are coming to do a job for the NDC or for the NPP. We are looking for persons who are coming to do a job for Ghana. That is what we are looking for, for the Electoral Commission”.
Justifying the removal of the three commissioners, the president said he had no choice but to act on the recommendations of the committee set up by the Chief Justice to investigate complaints against Mrs Osei and her two deputies, adding that he was duty-bound to uphold the teachings of the 1992 Constitution.
According to him, whenever a petition for the removal of a high-ranking public official, like the Chairperson of the EC is forwarded to the president, all the president has to do, as is stipulated in the Constitution, is to refer the petition to the Chief Justice, for the determination of a prima facie case or otherwise.
Once a prima facie case is established, the Chief Justice, in accordance with Article 146(4) of the Constitution, must establish a Committee to investigate the complaints. The Committee, in turn will make its recommendations to the Chief Justice, who shall, then, forward it to the President.
The Committee, the President noted, was composed of a Supreme Court Judge, two High Court judges, and two persons, who are neither lawyers nor Members of Parliament, and who were appointed by the Chief Justice on the advice of the Council of State.
“They [Committee] have been working over the last 6 months, and recommended that the Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Charlotte Osei, and her two deputies, Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwah, be removed from office on the grounds of stated misbehaviour and incompetence,” the President said.
He continued, “Article 146(9) of the Constitution demands that I act on the recommendations of the committee. I have no power to disagree with the recommendations of the Committee, the Constitution does not give me that power. That is why I have removed the Chairperson of the EC and the two deputies.”
Reiterating his commitment to building a country governed by the rule of law, the President indicated that the laws governing our country must not be a respecter of persons.
So Who Will It Be?
Even before the president makes the announcement, a few names have been speculated as worthy of the portfolio. They include a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Sophia Adjeibea Adinyira; Executive Director of the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), Dr Emmanuel Akwetey; and Prof. Joy Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, a Ghanaian law professor and member of the United Nations Independent Panel On Peace Operations.
Justice Sophia Adjeibea Adinyira:
Her Ladyship, Mrs Justice Sophia Adjeibea Adinyira is a Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana, a position she has held since March 2006. She was called to practice law as a solicitor and barrister at the Ghana Bar in 1973 having received her law degree at the University of Ghana, Legon, in 1971 and BL in 1973.
She also served as a Judge of the United Nations Appeals Tribunal (UNAT), from July 2009 to June 2016; sitting at New York and Geneva. Justice Sophia Adinyira is currently a member of the General Legal Council, a body responsible for legal education in Ghana.
She is also the newly-appointed chairperson of the Board of Judicial Training of the Judicial Service of Ghana. She previously served on the Judicial Council from 2015 to 2017 and as the Chairperson of the Council for Law Reporting, Ghana from 2015 to 2017 and as a member and chairperson respectively of the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council from 2003 to 2016.
She is a member of the International Association of Women Judges.
Justice Sophia Adinyira has delivered public lectures and papers in Ghana and abroad on various issues, including women empowerment and justice, child protection, juvenile justice, human trafficking, HIV/AIDS, constitutional review, law reform, judicial independence and the principle of legality.
Dr Emmanuel Akwetey:
Dr. Emmanuel O. Akwetey is the founding Executive Director of IDEG, one of Ghana’s leading research and advocacy organisation established 2000. He is a political scientist with a PhD degree in International Politics and Development obtained at the University of Stockholm, Sweden in 1994.
A competent academic and accomplished manager, Akwetey is also a passionate advocate of democratic governance and human development, civic participation in credible management of multiparty elections in Africa. He is widely consulted on issues of political and administrative transitions, and international aid and development effectiveness.
Dr. Akwetey has partnered the ACBF in the implementation of its capacity development vision in Ghana and Africa since 2003 and has also partnered several bilateral and multilateral institutions. He is currently a member of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group (EPG). He recently won for IDEG, the ‘Millennium Excellence Award’ for Democratic Development in Ghana for the period 2005 – 2010.
On Thursday, 3 August 2017 he was appointed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as one of the 13 Advisory Board members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.
Prof. Joy Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu
Prof. Joy Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu is a Ghanaian law professor and member of the United Nations Independent Panel On Peace Operations.
She is a professor and senior law lecturer at the University Of Ghana School Of Law. Joy Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu attended Wesley Girls’ High School, University of Ghana and Yale University, obtaining a Master of Laws (LLM) in 1985.
She became a full law lecturer at the University of Ghana in 2002, and in 2003 was elected as a fellow into the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.
She has used platforms available to her to advocate for peace to accelerate national development. She was the guest speaker at the Second Annual Peace Lecture put together by the Accra West chapter of the Rotary Club and the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), where she spoke about the "need to nurture peace" without waiting "till the need arises for peace before we go for it".
She delivered the 2014 University of Ghana Alumni Association lecture on the topic "The African Union’s Peace and Security Architecture: A guarantor of peace and security on the continent”
Professor Mensa-Bonsu has served in a number of high-level national and international assignments. She served on the Legal Committee of the Ghana National Commission on Children; represented Ghana on the Inter-governmental Meeting of Experts on the Draft African Charter on the Rights of the Child, served as member of the President’s Committee on the Review of Educational Reforms, the National Reconciliation Commission and the Ghana Police Council.
She has also served on a number of public boards and councils, such as Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, New Times Corporation, the Ghana Medical and Dental Council, Methodist University College Council and the Board of Standard Chartered Bank. She served the Methodist Church, Ghana as member of the Committee on Law and Policy; and on the Presiding Bishop’s Advisory Council.
In the international arena, Prof Mensa-Bonsu served as the ECOWAS nominee on the International Technical Advisory Committee for the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Vice-Chairperson of the ECOWAS Working Group on the Harmonisation of Business Laws on non-OHADA States, member of the OAU’s Committee of Eminent Jurists on the Lockerbie Case and the AU’s Committee of Eminent Jurists on the Hissene Habre Case.
A highpoint was her appointment as the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Rule of Law (DSRSG) in the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) with the rank of Assistant-Secretary-General in 2007.
As Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the Rule of Law Sector of the United Nations in Liberia for four years, she led the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission as its deputy head and also led the United Nations family on efforts to reconstruct the law-enforcement, legal and judicial sectors of post-conflict Liberia.
Returning to the University of Ghana in 2011, she served as a Civilian Mentor to the ECOWAS Senior Mission Leadership Course training of the Civilian Component for the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF), also on the UN’s Senior Mission Leadership Course. She recently accepted to serve on the Review Reference Group for the Project to prepare a ‘Guidance Note on Peace building’ for the United Nations system.
As an academic, Prof. Mensa-Bonsu has researched and published extensively on Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, Family Law and Children’s Rights, been a visiting Lecturer at the Queens University of Belfast, Northwestern University School of Law, visiting Scholar at Leiden University in the Netherlands and the 2014 Diplomat-in-Residence at the School of Public and International Affairs of the North Carolina State University.
Professor Mensa-Bonsu has earned a number of academic awards and awards for meritorious service. These are: MaCallien Prize for the Best Graduating Student in Volta Hall (1980); McDougal Fellowship from the Yale University (1984); the Fulbright Fellowship (1991); and the ACU/UNITWIN Fellowship for Women (1994). Her awards for meritorious service include a Citation for Meritorious Service from the Ghana Armed Forces (2012), a Meritorious Service Award from the Akuafo Hall of the University of Ghana (2006); a Distinguished Award for Meritorious Service from the University of Ghana in 1999 and the International Association of Lions Clubs President’s Excellence Award (1998).
Prof. Mrs. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu and Prof. Anne Marie Ofori – First Women to obtain first class in Law.
Currently, she teaches Criminal Law, Jurisprudence and Conflict Resolution Theory and Practice at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, and serves on a number of Boards of the University.
Sources within the presidency have, however, told ClassFMonline.com that the president is more than likely to settle on a woman as Mrs Osei's replacement.