Opinion: Jean Mensah Should Not Let NDC Intimidation Tactics Faze Her – By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

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Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensah, Chair of Ghana’s Electoral Commission

It is quite evident that the administrative culture of the Electoral Commission (EC) needs to promptly undergo some radical reforms, especially vis-à-vis the unsavorily tardy manner in which Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) conferences are convened. This carcinogenic culture of tardiness runs riotous and rampant in virtually every public institution and agency in the country. The last Chairperson of the EC, Mrs. Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei, left her own filthy trail of gross incompetence which needs to be thoroughly swept away and exorcised from that most sensitive and politically crucial establishment, if the lost credibility and public confidence in that otherwise august establishment are to be promptly restored. I have written about this and said it over times without number that the first thing that ought to go is that shamelessly stolen intellectual and/or artistic mandala-like logo that presently serves as the Coat-of-Arms or institutional insignia of Ghana’s Electoral Commission.

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We are, all of us, aware of the fact that that stolen property was unwisely imported and made a part of the EC by an insufferably haughty scofflaw Charlotte Osei, when she was mischievously and unconstitutionally transferred from the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to the EC. The transfer made by then-President John Dramani Mahama was mischievous because Ghana’s 1992 Republican Constitution makes it patently clear that in order to ensure non-interference in the work, duties and decisions of the principals of the various statutorily created commissions, no capricious or whimsical attempt ought to be made by any sitting Head-of-State or the President to transfer any of these Commissioners or Chairpersons from these standing commissions from one establishment to another.

By violating such statutory advisory, Mr. Mahama clearly demonstrated that Mrs. Osei was literally transferred to the Electoral Commission for purposes that were self-interested rather than purely based on demonstrated competence. But, of course, since Mrs. Osei was the preferred choice of the key operatives of the then-ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), every effort was made to try to prevent the imperative necessity to have the former NCCE’s Chairperson legitimately removed from her undeserved EC post. Now that she has been effectively removed from office, according to the tried and tested laws of the land, every effort will be made by Mrs. Osei’s sponsors to thoroughly undermine the work of Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensah, the newly appointed EC Chair.

The preceding notwithstanding, the first measure of reform that needs to happen, and I have written umpteen times about this, is for the logo that presently serves as the official insignia of the EC to be promptly removed. It is a factual reality that is well beyond debate that every statutory institution of the civil service must be represented by our National Coat-of-Arms, and not by some stolen “mystical” diagram created by an artist from a foreign country for which artistic and intellectual property crime the Ghanaian taxpayer was forced to pay an undisclosed sum of money in legal settlement fees and damages. If, indeed, the Mahama regime’s operatives wanted to give the institution of the Electoral Commission a progressive and worthwhile facelift, the extant government could have simply sponsored a contest, just as was done with the choice of our National Flag. Stealing the intellectual and artistic property of another country in the manner that Mrs. Osei was widely alleged to have done, constituted the height of gross administrative incompetence and an abject lack of creative direction and visionary leadership.

But, of course, the preceding catalogue of the gross incompetence of the former EC Chairperson, including the primary or immediate reasons for which she was legitimately removed, does not in any way exonerate our new EC Chairperson, Mrs. Mensa, that is, from professionally and competently calling IPAC meetings in a timely fashion, and meetings for which clearly detailed agendas or plans of action have been meticulously and systematically set. She knows as well as anybody else that meaningful and progressive meetings and conferences can only be effected when clearly defined goals and agendas have been set for pragmatically and realistically achieving the same. Apologies may be perfectly in order, but they do not in of themselves solve any substantive problems; nor are they a viable substitute for competency and efficiency.

We hope the sort of faux-pas that reportedly marked her maiden IPAC conference call or invitation will not be repeated. Of course, we also take realistic cognizance of the fact that mistakes will always be made by us fallible humans. But such mistakes ought to be made in such a way that they can be morally and reasonably excused or defended. Indeed, the last thing that any well educated and professionally proven competent and publicly respected personality would want to encounter or experience is to have cynical rascals and political and moral reprobates like the career General-Secretary of the country’s main opposition National Democratic Congress and his associates and cronies poke fun at their NPP intellectual, professional and moral betters or superiors.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com  Ghanaffairs

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