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08.02.2021 Feature Article

Electoral Commission Chief Jean Mensa Must Go, Part 3

Electoral Commission Chief Jean Mensa Must Go, Part 3
LISTEN FEB 8, 2021

“…The reports that matter are all in… Ms. Jean Adukwei Mensa must go… Commissioner Ms. Mensa has become a canker on the Ghana EC, and a poor reflection on the EC and its employees…(T)hat voters…were completely disenfranchised… We’ve not seen Jean Mensa apologize to the people…to Ghana… There was no credible or valid reason to justify changes Ms. Jean Mensa caused to the manner votes were tabulated…Plainly, as administrator, Ms. Jean Mensah…has not brought any innovations to the EC… On the contrary … . Then,…reports where the EC could not even get their arithmetic right…Mr. Manasseh Azure Awuni, one of Ghana’s most highly-rated journalists…seconded…our position…: the credibility of the EC has dipped since Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan left office as CEO,…contrary to what Professor Adei says…Every Ghanaian and Ghana supporter ought to be outraged... President Akufo Addo, availing himself of the powers conferred…by the Constitution,…to preserve unity, peace, progress, and freedom for all Ghanaians…should immediately dismiss Ms. Jean Adukwei Mensa for cause… Ghana, we don’t want no Kibaki problem… We don’t want Mugabe nonsense… We don’t want Zimbabwe Wahala…Jean Adukwei Mensa must go, now…,” (Prof Lungu, 7 February, 2021).

In our decade-plus activity on this and other media outlets promoting and supporting good governance and administrative for Ghana, we have never been openly critical of government officials who are females.

But one.

She is Ms. Jean Adukwei Mensa, the Electoral Commissioner.

In all those past years, we have always operated on the assumption that (1) Ghana actually needs many, more, female officials in higher positions, (2) unequal educational system puts Ghanaian girls and women in unequal position, favoring boys and men, (3) corruption among public officials is a “man-thing” to the extent men have always controlled the levers of political power, including traditional power.

Ms. Jean Adukwei Mensa is the sole exception to our non-critique policy, borne out of deep respect and honor for Ghanaian women in all positions (governmental, Non-Profit, Civil Society, Private Enterprise, etc.).

You see, in 2008, while Ms. Mensa was Administrator and Public Relations Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), the IEA proposed public funding of political parties, saying in part:

“…public funding for political parties…(will) curb corruption and enhance internal party democracy…(because, without public funding)…a few financially endowed members who contribute to the parties would hijack and treat parties as personal property…Sources of Funding, …(would include)…two and half percent of total VAT…”.

In our article published on these same pages 8 April, 2008, we made the following observations about that proposal by the IEA administrator:

“…IEA…a ‘Free Enterprise’ Think Tank modeled after the IEA in the UK…is putting the cart before the horse. Why doesn’t the IEA put some energy into the Asset Declaration law? And what about the stalled Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill… After all, isn’t “Open Society” directly a part of their mission, compared to “Public Finance of Political Parties? Or is it because there is more influence with taxing and divvying up monies, than making elected officials do the right thing?...(T)he IEA idea is a lousy one. It is a bad idea because it is poorly timed and poorly conceptualized. It is a lousy idea because it flies in the face of priority and judicious use of public resources…it will not contribute an iota to the fight for accountability and transparency in government...”.

Subsequently, after Ms. Jean Mensa took over the position of IEA CEO, after Dr. Charles Mensah departed, the IEA still did not take an active interest in investigating the case about the billions of oil dollars Ghana was losing through that rigged NPP-devised, NDC-condoned, Ghana Hybrid System so-called.

The case about Ghana oil revenues was brought to the attention of the IEA many times by members of the Fair-Trade Oil Share Ghana (FTOS-Gh) Campaign, right on the ground in Ghana.

At last count, the so-called Ghana Hybrid System, which incidentally can be reduced to the “Ghs” acronym, exactly as one (1) cedi, had resulted in Ghana losing over US$10.5 billion as at the end of the year 2019, a decade after production of oil in Ghana began in earnest. That finding is contained in a Report published by the FTOS-Gh Campaign under the auspices of the Centre for Natural Resources and Environmental Management (CNREM) and its Executive Director, Mr. Solomon Kwawukume. (Politicians of all persuasions failed to adopt or strongly support a Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) to regulate Ghana’s oil interests).

In Part 1 of our series, we wrote that over nearly 3 decades, the Electoral Commission’s “carefully carved reputation”, the subject of Professor Gyampo’s article on these same pages, was “carved” mainly during the tenure of Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, during 1990s, up to 2015; and during Ms. Charlotte Osei’s tenure.

Our position on the matter has recently been seconded by Mr. Manasseh Azure Awuni, one of Ghana’s most highly-rated journalists, certainly one of the most objective journalists, when the journalist noted that the credibility of the EC has dipped since Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan left office as CEO.

Plainly, as recent performance go, Ms. Jean Mensah, EC administrator, has not brought any innovations to the EC during her tenure that would cause elections in Ghana to be administered more efficiently, more effectively, more economically, more equitably, and more transparently.

We must therefore reiterate that the statement by Professor Stephen Adei that “Jean Mensa is the best EC Chair Ghana has ever had”, still is patently sycophantic and absurd. It is objectively a big, fat, lie. It is propaganda. That statement is sycophantic because no reasonable adult will believe it is objective when Dr. Adei is knee-deep in the government that created the latest EC mess, the so-called independence of the EC, notwithstanding.

Significantly, joined at the hip with the order by the Supreme Court to disallow original documents in the on-going trial for which the EC and its chief are the first respondents, all of that point to the sign about the same “corruption” Prof Adei complained was “so high” at the “Public Accountability: Abuse of Office”, panel discussion organized by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), in June of 2019.

The last we checked, Ms. Jean Mensa had still not apologized to the People of Ghana, nor to the communities in the Santrokofi, Akpafu, Likpe, and Lolobi, (SALL) areas where 1,000s of voter were proscribed from voting for their preferred MP during the last election by non-other than Jean Mensa.

We reiterate that the big mess caused by the administration of Ms. Jean Adukwei Mensa at the Ghana Electoral Commission (EC) during the 2020 elections still constitutes grounds for her dismissal from that hallowed tax-payer funded position.

Today, 7 February, 2021, the EC continues decapitating the “History” of the Commission on its publicly-funded website: The “history” begins in 1968 and ends in 1971, with Mr G.A.K. Bonsu, “who was then the Secretary to the Commission, was made the Electoral Commissioner in 1971.”

Deploying a 1,000-foot aerial view over the on-going election petition brought by Mr. John Mahama and the NDC party against the Electoral Commission (EC) and the EC-proclaimed winner of the 2020 presidential elections, the NPP, we must sadly conclude that justice and fairness is bound to elude plaintiff because Jean Adukwei Mensa has thus far not apologized to the People of Ghana for the mess she caused.

Jean Adukwei Mensa must go!

President Akufo Addo, availing himself of the powers conferred on him by the Constitution, and to preserve unity, peace, progress, and freedom for all Ghanaians regardless of where they come from or live, should immediately dismiss Ms. Jean Adukwei Mensa, for cause.

After all, none other than his preferred Attorney-General designate Godfred Odame has testified in open court that the EC and Jean Mensa erred when the EC proscribed SALL voters, back in December, 2020.

Crucially, in our humble opinion, the sacking of Ms. Jean Adukwei Mensa should have been one of the recommendations of the Council of State (COS), if the COS was paying any attention to disenfranshiment of voters in Ghana for any reason, such as occurred during the just-ended elections.

We are no lawyers.

However, we believe in fairness and justice in governance, development, and decision-making, including impartial deliberations by judges and Supreme Court justices who are totally supported by taxpayer funds.

It is unconscionable that in 2021, Ghanaians must abide by military junta decrees such and Section 1 of the 1975 NRC decree, “Evidence Act” that recently made news at the Supreme Court in Accra. But, that is the law, we understand.

Of note (Section 1 of 1975 NRC decree):

“…(3) The determination whether a party has met the burden of producing evidence on a particular issue is a question of law which shall be determined by the Court…(4) Where the Court determines that a party has not met the burden of producing evidence on a particular issue the Court shall, as a matter of law determine the issue against that party.”

Again, we are no lawyers, nor are we trying to practice law here.

Nonetheless, we have some elementary understanding of the laws, including Civil, Tort, Administrative, and Constitutional law, having taken courses in several of those subjects as part of our education and training over the years.

It seems to us the operative concept with respect to Section 1 of the 1975 NRC decree is this:

“…burden of producing evidence on a particular issue is a question of law which shall be determined by the Court…”.

In plain speak, the Court and the individual judges, using their agency and Power granted by the People, “determines".

We state here today that it is unacceptable that a Court in Ghana would so decree that original documents are not necessary when opposing lawyers are in disagreement about the admissibility and validity of crucial documents in a very important case about national elections. More than anything, this is a contest between 2 opposing political parties of vastly unequal powers and influence, one being the government in power that appointed the EC Chief, after they engineered the dismissal of the previous Chairman.

The NPP government, through Jean Adukwei Mensa and the EC, has custody of the original, tax payer-funded documents, including “video”, and tabulation charts for the elections. (This is a matter of important public interest given the results of the elections).

Incidentally, the same Acheampong N.R.C. decree has something on “erroneous exclusion of evidence” and “miscarriage of justice” arising from “finding verdict, judgment or decision”:

“…3) A finding verdict, judgment or decision shall not be set aside altered or reversed on appeal or review because of the erroneous exclusion of evidence unless,…(a) the substance of the excluded evidence was made known to the Court by the questions asked, by an offer of proof, or by any other means, and…(b) the Court which decides on the effect of the error also determines that the excluded evidence should have been admitted and that the erroneous exclusion of the evidence resulted in a substantial miscarriage of justice.”

Clearly, a judge, a Supreme Court Justice, Yaw Appau, Samuel Marful-Sau, Gertrude Torkornoo, Amadu Tanko, Clemence Honyenuga, even, does not make a “finding verdict, judgment or decision” in a vacuum.

Question is, given the background and the mess caused by EC Chief Mensa, including the disenfranchisement of 1,000s of voters and multiple cases of reported errors in data announced by the EC only to be recalled, why is it not appropriate and therefore a matter of public interest to cause the EC, to provide original documents for review by the Court?

The objective reader will concur that in this instance, as the case still goes on, an “erroneous exclusion of evidence” that results in “miscarriage of justice” would be fatal from point of view of the national interest and justice, if for the simple reason there is no appeal.

What, therefore, is Jean Mensa hiding?

What, tell us, is the Supreme Court of Ghana attempting to hide on behalf of EC Chief Mensa and the NPP government, with that avoidance of evidence?

Significantly, the 1992 law establishing the Electoral Commission, Section 2(g), lists among the “functions of the Electoral Commission”, proper storage of “election material ” and “…(e) to educate the people on the electoral process and its purpose…”.

To the Court’s refusal of original documents, it is the EC that is charged with proper storage and accountability of “election material”. It is not lawyers or private interests contesting the results of a publicly-funded election that produces “election material” that is in the custody of the Ghana Electoral Commission.

Moreover, how does Ms. Jean Mensa and the EC “educate the people on the electoral process and its purpose” when original documents must be kept hidden from “the people”, even from a court of law?

What confidence?

What accountability?

What transparency?

In part 1 of our paper, we cited Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby’s, "The unnecessary detour that has derailed the integrity of election 2020 outcome" (Ghanaweb, 18 December 2020).

With decades worth of experience helping to administer elections in Ghana, Dr. Wereko-Brobby found no credible or valid reason to justify changes Ms. Jean Mensa caused to the manner votes were tabulated “to reach the outcome" she announced from Accra. As all Ghanaians know, Accra is tens and hundreds of miles away from the constituency centers where the vast majority of votes were actually cast and where the chain-of-custody began, physically, with COLLECTION, before any transfer(s).

Ms. Jean Adukwei Mensa must go now!

President Akufo Addo should immediately dismiss Ms. Jean Adukwei Mensa for cause, if the EC Chief fails to resign.

If we must repeat, it is none other than Akufo Addo’s Attorney-General designate, who advised the court that it was the EC and Jean Mensa that injured the voters and people of Santrokofi, Akpafu, Lolobi and Lipke (SALL) when they prevented them from voting for their preferred Member of Parliament (MP).

Speaking about significance of “erroneous exclusion,” by any Court, it is conceivable that SALL voters could have changed the results of the 2020 Presidential elections, with current contested 137-137 MP-split between the 2 parties (NDC and NPP).

President Akufo Addo should immediately dismiss Ms. Jean Adukwei Mensa for cause.

Jean Adukwei Mensa must go!

The immediate and forced departure of Ms. Jean Adukwei Mensa from the Ghana EC still would be a pithy, but crucial, step if Ghana is to begin re-positioning the Electoral Commission as an objective, credible, non-partisan public agency for the administration of elections without favor to any political party or private interest.

We said and will say it again: Ms. Jean Adukwei Mensa failed directly at accomplishing the mission she was charged with consistent with the Constitution and her responsibilities for objectivity and non-partisanship.

And, when it counted, for reasons mostly known to herself alone, Jean Mensa could not “(M)anage the conduct of…public elections…”, when she had her chance.

That was Job One!

There is no integrity there!

Ms. Jean Adukwei Mensa must go, now.

President Akufo Addo should immediately dismiss Ms. Jean Adukwei Mensa for cause, if the EC Chief fails to resign tout de suite.

ORACLE SINGING:

Jean Adukwei Mensa is too much

Ghana, we don’t want no Kibaki problem

We don’t want Kenya massacre

We don’t want Mugabe nonsense

We don’t want Zimbabwe Wahala

So give it to them

Give it to them fili-fili

Jean Adukwei Mensa mus ha-fi go!

Jean Adukwei Mensa must go, now!

So it goes, Ghana!

SUBJECT: Electoral Commission Chief Jean Mensah Must Go, Part 3.

Prof Lungu, powered by: WWW.GHANAHERO.COM (7 February, 2021).

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