Woman to Head Ghanaian Election Commission

Jean Mensa will be the second consecutive woman to lead Ghana's top electoral board.

Jean Mensa will be the second consecutive woman to lead Ghana’s top electoral board.

By Chuma Kisu

Ms. Jean Mensa was announced on Monday, July 23 by the Ghanaian presidency to be the country’s next head of its elections body, the Electoral Commission (EC).

She will become the second successive woman to hold the post and will take over from Charlotte Osei – the first female occupant of the seat under the 1992 Republican constitution.

President Nana Akufo-Addo in late June 2018 fired Charlotte Osei and her two deputies at the time over “misbehavior and incompetence.” The president was acting on recommendations from an investigative probe by the Chief Justice.

The statement of nomination signed by Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, Chief of Staff, said the president had sought the advice of his advisory board – the Council of State – in appointing a new EC boss, two deputies and a member of the commission.

The statement continued: “The following persons have, thus, been nominated for appointment by the President to fill these vacancies, subject to the advice of the Council of State:”

  1. Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa – Chairperson
    2. Mr. Samuel Tettey – Deputy Chairperson
    3. Dr. Eric Asare Bossman – Deputy Chairperson
    4. Ms. Adwoa Asuama Abrefa – Memeber of the Commission.

The nominated EC chair until now was Executive Director of one of Ghana’s biggest policy think-tanks, the Institute of Economic Affairs. As leader of the IEA, she interfaced with most political parties on matters of electoral processes.

She is a lawyer with experience in policy research and advocacy and has worked on a number of politically related legislations – amongst others the government committee on affirmative action bill, the presidential transition act of 2012, and the revision of the political parties’ bill.

Osei was also a former corporate lawyer and was appointed by former President John Mahama in mid-2015. She successfully supervised a general election in 2016 which was won by Akufo-Addo, then leader of the main opposition group.

Ghana will hold presidential and parliamentary elections in December 2020, in a vote expected to be a straight contest between the incumbent and the New Patriotic Party and the main opposition National Democratic Congress.

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