Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) Jean Mensah has disclosed that she inherited a very weak institution which was not founded on rules.
She’s also expressed worry about how the Commission was run as a free for all institution that lacked governance framework and was a subject of state capture by foreign elements.
“It is an institution that is not founded on rules, is not founded on administrative policies, does not have a governance framework. We came into office and found out that we do not have a single policy to guide procurement, to guide finance, to guide human resource, nothing exists,” she said.
Jean Mensa said this when she led the Electoral Commission to the Jubilee House to pay a courtesy call on President Nana Akufo-Addo Thursday ad part of a series of consultative meetings being held with stakeholders of the electioneering process.
Although she acknowledged the work done by her predecessors, Mrs Mensa noted that she inherited a very weak institution.
“In a nutshell, the Commission has existed as an election machine, and over the year we have spent a lot of efforts to plug the loopholes to the best of our ability. It has been run as a free for all institution,” she revealed.
The EC Chair told President Akufo-Addo that the backlog of promotions of staff has been undertaken, thereby boosting the morale of staff, as well as the introduction of policies and guidelines to structure and regulate the operations of the EC.
Giving an account of the EC’s stewardship, she noted that the conduct of the Referendum for the creation of the new regions, the by-election at Ayawaso West Wuogon, setting up a security taskforce ahead of the 2020 elections, and the authoring of a draft report for the implementation of the Representation of the Peoples’ Amendment Act (ROPAA), are among the things that have caught the attention of the EC over the course of the last year.
The EC Chair noted that the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) had been institutionalized, with meetings held once every month to develop an agenda for constructive dialogue.
The EC, she observed, has also been engaged in streamlining the activities of the political parties to ensure parties submit their audited reports in a timely manner.
For his part, President Nana Akufo-Addo reiterated that he does not need the Electoral Commission (EC) to win an election.
“I don’t want to win an election in Ghana because of the Electoral Commission. I want to win an election in Ghana because of the people of Ghana; that they make a free and open choice that Akufo-Addo will be, again, their choice,” he said.
He stated that to have an Electoral Commission that is partisan or open to manipulation is essentially striking the heart of the democratic system of the country.
“What the ballot should do is to present an unvarnished verdict of the will of the Ghanaian people. That is what should take place of any well-functioning democracy; that the ballot represents a fair, clear statement of what wishes of our people are.
“If there is any interference with that, it is a distortion of the popular will, and, that, therefore, means that the democracy that you seek to advance itself becomes questionable,” he said.