Jean Mensa, the current head of economic think-tank, Institute of Economic Affair (IEA), has been nominated by President Akufo-Addo as the new Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Ghana, the body tasked to oversee elections in Ghana.
She is expected to be assisted by Samuel Tetteh, who is Director of Electoral Services at The Electoral Commission, and Dr. Eric Asare Bossman, the Head of Department of Political Science at the University of Ghana, as deputies, and Adwoa Asuama Abrefa, a corporate legal practitioner, as a member of the commission.
Her appointment, which has to be confirmed by the Council of State to take effect, will see her become the third head of the commission in its almost three decades of existence under the 1992 constitution and the second woman to take up the job.
She will be following in the footsteps of Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, who retired after serving for more than two decades and overseeing six general elections; and Charlotte Osei, who oversaw only the 2016 general elections but was dismissed by President Akufo-Addo on Thursday, June 28, 2018 with her two deputies, Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwah.
Their dismissals were based on recommendations of a committee established by the Chief Justice, Justice Sophia Akufo, to investigate petitions brought against them.
The retirement from office of Paulina Dadzawa, a Member of the Commission on Monday, April 30, 2018, has created an additional vacancy in the Commission, which will be filled by Ms. Abrefa.
A statement from the office of the president said: “the president, by letter dated Thursday, 19th July, 2018, sought the advice of the Council of State, in accordance with article 70(2) of the constitution for the appointment of a new Chairperson two Deputy Chairpersons and a Member of the Electoral Commission (EC).
The statement added that President Akufo-Addo is hopeful that the Council of State will discharge its constitutional duty expeditiously, to enable him make these critical appointments to this very important institution of state.
Upon assumption of office, Mrs. Mensa’s immediate task will be to restore the credibility and integrity of the commission to levels enjoyed before the 2012 general elections. The commission’s credibility came under question when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) took the results of the 2012 general elections to court.
Also, before and after the 2016 general elections, infighting among the leadership of the commission and allegations of corruption led to the dismissals of Ms. Osei and her two deputies.
Brief profiles of the nominees
Jean Adukwei Mensa
Jean Adukwei Mensa is currently the Executive Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and coordinator of the Ghana Political Parties Programme. She is a lawyer by profession and has carved a niche for herself in the field of policy research and advocacy.
She has been involved in the development of policies such as the Presidential Transition Act of 2012; the revised 1992 Constitution of Ghana (draft), the Political Parties Funding Bill; and the revised Political Parties Bill.
In 2010, she served as a Commissioner of 1992 Constitution Review Commission, and is currently a member of the government committee tasked with preparing the Affirmative Action Bill. She’s married with three children.
Samuel Tettey is currently the Director, Electoral Services (Elections) at The Electoral Commission, a position he has held since January 2014. He has held several positions in the Electoral Commission, including District Electoral Officer in the Awutu Effutu Senya District, and the Central Regional Director of the Electoral Commission, a position he held from 2005 to 2011.
He has been a member of many election observer missions to countries such as the Kingdom of Lesotho, Guinea and Liberia. He’s married with three children.
Dr. Eric Asare Bossman
Dr. Eric Asare Bossman is currently the Head of 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.
He is the author of several policy papers in the areas of international politics, democracy in Ghana, and has teaching and research interests in the fields of comparative public policy, democratic development, public policy analysis, human rights, international security, globalisation, and forced migration.
Adwoa Asuama Abrefa
Adwoa Asuama Abrefa is a corporate legal practitioner, with specialisation in land property acquisitions, corporate law, and corporate governance. She is currently the general manager, legal and corporate affairs, at Cirrus Oil Services Limited, and holds an LLM master of laws degree in oil and gas, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in law and political science from the University of Ghana, Legon. She’s married with one child.