Following the dimissal of Mrs. Charlotte Osei and her two Deputies, Member of Parliament for Okaikwei Central, Mr. Patrick Yaw Boamah, has indicated that the newly nominated Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa and her Deputies must work as a team.
The MP who doubles as the Deputy Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources pointed out that the nominated Commissioners must understand the importance of teamwork.
In an interview with ghanajustice.com, Mr. Boamah stated that individual games cannot be played on the chairmanship of the EC; rather, teamwork must be the central focus.
Mr. Boamah added that the President, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo, followed the laid down rules to appoint competent people to serve at the EC, which is an independent body, to run the nation’s elections.
Mr. Boamah called on the newly nominated commissioners to ensure that they pull the media along whenever making decisions.
On the accusations by some Minority MPs on the President’s nomination, he responded that the appointment of the Special Prosecutor, Mr. Martin Amidu, is ample proof that the president does not nominate his party people to certain independent and autonomous offices.
The Newly nominated Electoral Commissioners
President Nana Akufo-Addo nominated the Executive Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), Jean Adukwei Mensa, as the new Chairperson of the Electoral Commission and Mr. Samuel Tettey and Dr. Eric Oduro as the Deputies on July 23, 2018.
Pursuant to Article 70(2), President Akufo-Addo wrote to the Council of State to seek advice on the nominations.
Mrs. Jean Mensa is a lawyer and an activist on governance and democratic issues. She is an authority in the field of policy research and advocacy as well as in the development of policy alternatives including the Presidential Transition Act of 2012, the Revised 1992 Constitution of Ghana (draft), the Political Parties Funding Bill and the Revised Political Parties Bill.
Mr Samuel Tettey is currently the Director, Electoral Services (Elections) at the Electoral Commission. He has held several positions in the Electoral Commission, including District Electoral Officer in the Awutu/Effutu/Senya District, and Central Regional Director of the EC, a position he held from 2005 to 2011.
Dr Eric Asare Bossman is currently the Head of the Department of Political Science at the University of Ghana, Legon. He holds a Master of Arts Degree in International Affairs from Ohio University, and also, has a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Political Science from West Virginia University.
Background to ECs’ removal
The removal of Mrs. Charlotte Osei and her two deputies, Mr. Amadu Sulley and Mrs. Georgina Opoku Amankwa, from office on June 28, 2018, was on grounds of “stated misbehaviour and incompetence”.
Their removal was on the back of recommendations from a committee set up by the Chief Justice to investigate the three on allegations brought against them by some staff of the Commission in July, 2017.
According to the committee’s report, Mrs. Charlotte Osei, breached procurement laws in the award of several contracts, prior to the 2016 elections.
The Chief Justice made a prima facie case against the Chairperson in respect of six allegations contained in the said petition.
The report indicated that the findings on the allegations made against Mrs. Charlotte Osei clearly gives a catalogue of breaches she inflicted on the Public Procurement Act.
Basis for removal
Article 146 (4) of the 1992 Constitution states that “Where the Chief Justice decides that there is a prima facie case, he shall set up a committee consisting of three Justices of the Superior Courts or Chairmen of the Regional Tribunals or both, appointed by the Judicial council and two other persons who are not members of the Council of State, nor members of Parliament, nor lawyers, and who shall be appointed by the Chief Justice on the advice of the Council of State”.
Clause (9) also states that “The President shall, in each case, act in accordance with the recommendations of the committee”.
Constitutional basis for the nomination of new EC
Article 40 Clause (2) of the 1992 Constitution states that “The President shall, acting on the advice of the Council of State, appoint the Chairman, Deputy Chairmen, and other members of the Electoral Commission”.