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Opinions of Thursday, 27 June 2013

Columnist: Jackson, Margaret

Jean Mensa’s IEA Judges The SC Petition Case

By Margaret Jackson

June 26, 2013

The Executive Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), Mrs Jean Mensa is back in the news again! But for a terrible, wrong and needless reason! This woman has put herself in the centre of the on-going Supreme Court (SC) petition case and seems to have beaten everybody to it by ruling on the case.

Even though the NPP is struggling to continue with their cross-examination of the Electoral Commissioner, Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan, Jean Mensa has concluded the case abruptly and declared the winner. And her ruling seems to favour the party which she has been accused all this while of having a big sympathy to.

At a time that everybody seems to be speculating on when the SC petition case will end to allow the country to move on, Jean Mensa is preparing to organize a two-day workshop on the theme, “A Review Of Ghana’s Electoral System” from Friday July 5 to July 7 at the Capital View Hotel in Koforidua.

But just hold your breath before you read the reasons assigned by Jean Mensa for the workshop. According to an invitation letter from Jean Mensa, “Ghana conducted relatively peaceful, free and fair elections in 2002. However, there were several irregularities that marred the beauty of the nation’s efforts to consolidate her democratic gains through elections”.

Please continue to read on: “The introduction of Biometric Verification Machines to authenticate the identity of voters proved ineffective in many polling stations. This extended voting to the next day and created tension about the safety and security of the ballot boxes. While some Ghanaians argued that the ballot boxes must be kept by the Security Agencies, some voters insisted that they be kept at polling centers throughout the night under their vigilance.”

We have now reached Jean Mensa’s “icing on the cake”. She wrote, “Besides, there were several reported cases of electoral irregularities including the disregard for the rule that one cannot vote without being first verified, over-voting, discrepancies between figures and letters of recorded votes etc. Against this backdrop, The Institute of Economic Affairs in its attempt to increase transparency and integrity of the Ghana Electoral System and begin a process of reforming the electoral system is organizing this Two-Day workshop. Ghana as a country has chosen the course of multi-party democracy and Constitutionalism. There is therefore the need to review and reform its Electoral System if we are to give true meaning to this choice”.

That was Jean Mensa! This is the woman who has shown at every given turn her disdain for the ruling NDC government. We, currently have the nine SC justices trying to determine whether there were indeed any irregularities or over-voting as being claimed by the NPP in their petition case.

But Jean Mensa has already judged the case that there were irregularities, over-voting and some people who voted without verification. That is why she has decided to organize a workshop to reform the Electoral System when the case is still on-going.

This is the biggest slight to the nine justices of the SC court. And if this behaviour by Jean Mensa does not smack of contempt of court, I will have a problem to believe the rationale behind Jean Mensa’s attitude.

Who is Jean Mensa to organize a workshop on Electoral Reform? Why is this lady trying to put the cart before the horse? What is she seeking to achieve? To the NDC supporters who have suspicions about the real motives of Jean Mensa, this behaviour of hers will further confirm their long held suspicions that this lady is comfortably doing the biddings of the NPP at the IEA.

Jean Mensa got the guts to state that there were discrepancies between the figures and letters of recorded votes. How was she able to draw those conclusions? Was she at the polling stations? To borrow the second petitioner of the case, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, “You and Jean Mensa were not there”. So upon what precise did Jean Mensa conclude that there were over-voting at some polling stations?

This whole workshop on electoral reform is a sham and must be stopped since its going to serve the parochial interest of Jean Mensa and her NPP. Jean Mensa must feel shameful about exposing herself. This is a bad workshop aimed at helping the floundering case of the NPP.

This is this same Jean Mensa who showed her open bias to the NDC by removing from IEA’s website a report that slammed the NPP for abuse of incumbency in the 2008 Elections as the then ruling party. Jean Mensa removed the report when the Ghana News Agency (GNA) sourced the report from the IEA website in August 2012 and started to serialize it.

The IEA report made stinging indictment on the NPP and how it blatantly abused state resources to run a lavish campaign in the 2008 Elections which they eventually lost to the NDC.

The IEA report stated that, “The most flagrant abuses involve the use of state vehicles, state security apparatuses, state officials, state venues and paraphernalia, and state helicopters to distribute campaign materials of its presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo…Last-minute flurry of sod-cutting for projects and its commissioning activities by then President John Agyekum Kufuor was seen as inuring to the benefit of the ruling NPP’s candidate.”

The document titled: “Report on the 2008 General Elections in Ghana,” also said Nana Akufo-Addo “was awash in resources and some estimated him as out-spending his seven other presidential opponents put together by as much as 30:1 ratio”.

But just a day after the GNA broke the news Jean Mensa took the report from the IEA website and also shamelessly contested the report. It was after she was exposed that she owed up to the report. This prompted then President John Mills to withdraw from the slated 2012 Presidential Debate by the IEA.

It was after the demise of President Mills that President Mahama considered so many things and took part in the debate which he excelled very well. It seems Jean Mensa never learnt anything from that terrible incident and seems to be looking for other means to appease Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP.

I strongly urge the NDC supporters to take note of this behaviour by Jean Mensa. I don’t think the NDC should ever attend any program/s organized by the IEA because of Jean Mensa’s open hostility and bias. I also, call on well-meaning Ghanaians to condemn the pending workshop by Jean Mensa which does not serve any good purpose. The petition is still in court. There has not been any ruling yet, so Jean Mensa cannot conclude on anything. What she is therefore, attempting to do is very shameful and must be condemned by all.