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Mrs. Jean Mensa, Head of the Electoral Commission Not An Honest Broker

The ongoing feud/war of words between the former president, Mr. John Mahama and the chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs. Jean Mensa is one that should be a source of worry to all well-meaning Ghanaians; in fact, it should engage our attention for a variety of reasons.

For one thing, it once again puts the Electoral Commission in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. It seems from all indications that the Commission is still incapable of getting its house in order so it avoids the inevitable verbal assault that comes from vested parties, interested stakeholders as Ghanaian politicians love to put it.

Remember it was merely two years ago that the Commission came under severe, virulent and sometimes malicious attacks from an assortment of groups ranging from the main opposition party then, the NPP and an assortment of NPP affiliated civil society organizations.

The chairperson then, Mrs. Charlotte Osei, was the butt of jokes and the target of ad hominem attacks. She was accused of all manner of things under the sun.

Her detractors alleged that she was shilling for the NDC then in power and doing everything in her authority to extend its rule because she owed the party her appointment.

But when the NPP won the elections overwhelmingly in 2016, the cacophony of noise against Mrs. Osei died down considerably until she was shown the exit by the president, Nana Akuffo Addo.

One another reason to be overly concerned about the verbal back and forth between the former president and Mrs. Mensa is that as long as the conflict goes on, it will gradually erode public confidence in the Electoral Commission and by extension confidence in our democratic system.

Mr. Mahama has accused the Commission of lack of transparency and consultation and doubts if it has the ability to conduct a neutral general election.

“They need to prove us wrong. We have doubts that they will be neutral or fair,” he said.

Mr. Mahama apparently has every reason to view with suspicion laced with disdain, the state agency that presided over his defeat in 2016.

Mrs. Mensa and her lieutenants at the Commission have not inspired confidence in the state institution. It is quite obvious she hasn’t learnt a lesson from her predecessor’s ordeal.

Instead, Mrs. Jean Mensa comes across as combative, undeniably arrogant and non-compromising. Her utterances and posture of late does little to lend credence to her rather forceful assertion that the Commission is a fair arbiter.

One point needs to be made clear; the Commission is the symbol of our system of participatory democracy by virtue of the fact that it is charged with the responsibility of conducting and ensuring free and fair elections.

But if it comes under a cloud of suspicion and distrust our democracy is in troubled waters.




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