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Former President John Dramani Mahama and Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan, retired EC chair, are in Zimbabwe as Commonwealth Observer Group members ‬

Mahama wades into EC chair brouhaha

Says Ghana’s democratic credentials being eroded


BY MOHAMMED AWAL 


FORMER PRESIDENT John Dramani Mahama has said the nomination of Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa to the vacant position of the chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) is “regrettable.”

He said the nomination has the potential to “erode Ghana’s democratic credentials” in a Facebook post, Tuesday, July 24. The post is reproduced below:

“John Dramani Mahama

In Harare as Head of the Commonwealth Observer Group to Zimbabwe’s harmonized Elections on July 30. Proud to serve on the same mission with the highly respected former EC Chair, Kwadwo Afari Gyan, who for almost 2 decades established Ghana’s worldwide reputation for credible election management.
Current controversy surrounding removal of EC Chair and deputies and subsequent appointment of new commissioners is regrettable and carries a potential to erode Ghana’s democratic credentials.”

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on July 19 announced Mrs Mensa, who is the Executive Director of the Institute for Economic Affairs, as the EC chairperson-nominee.

She is to replace Mrs Charlotte Osei, who was removed together with her two deputies – Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwah – by President Akufo-Addo following recommendations by a committee set up by the Chief Justice to probe a petition against them.

Mrs Osei reportedly breached procurement laws in the award of several contracts, prior to the 2016 elections.

A statement announcing the nominations of Mrs Mensa and three others dated July 19 and signed by the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, said the President, after seeking the advice of the Council of State in accordance with Article 70 (2) of the Constitution, nominated Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa — Chairperson, Mr Samuel Tettey — Deputy Chairperson, Dr Eric Asare Bossman — Deputy Chairperson, Ms Adwoa Asuama Abrefa — Member of the Commission.

According to the letter, “President Akufo-Addo is hopeful that the Council of State will discharge its constitutional duty expeditiously, to enable him to make these critical appointments to this very important institution of State.”

Even before the former President, who is in Harare as head of the Commonwealth Observer Group to monitor Zimbabwe’s elections slated for July 30, made his pronouncement, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) had slammed the appointment as “indecent” and “senseless.”

“We are shocked because until this appointment the President had given assurance to the nation that the persons to be appointed into the Commission would be persons whose integrity and political neutrality would be above board,” said the largest opposition party in a statement Monday.

The statement signed by the General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, added that“for President Akufo-Addo to proceed contrary to his earlier assurances to appoint a known pro-NPP and an avowed anti-NDC person like Mrs Jean Mensa to chair a commission which would organise elections involving the NPP and NDC as the main contenders defy all senses of decency, fairness and justice and amounts to a gross abuse of the discretionary powers of appointment vested in him by the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.”

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