Government has begun its push back against opposition criticisms that the President’s nomination of Jean Mensa as next Chairperson of the Electoral Commission is inappropriate.
Deputy Chief of Staff Abu Jinapor has talked up the nominee, Mrs Jean Mensah, who is the Executive Director of public policy think-tank Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), insisting Mrs Mensa ticks the boxes of a “strong, fair and independent-minded character of integrity who stands tall”.
But the National Democratic Congress (NDC) believes the only thing that stands tall about the nominee is how she falls short of the mark.
The NDC which has boycotted the IEA since 2016, said after working with the nominee in different capacities, Jean Mensa is “very political”.
Speaking “authoritatively,” the NDC National Organiser Kofi Adams told Joy News Monday “we are not convinced at all that she will do a good job”
Going back 10 years down memory lane, Kofi Adams pulled out a website publication the IEA pulled down during the 2008 elections.
The IEA had called the closely contested presidential elections for NPP presidential candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who would need two more tries to become President.
Kofi Adams said the IEA was forced to delete the ‘outrageous’ research publication because, as it turned out, the winner was NDC challenger Prof. Evans Atta Mills.
“If as research agency you could do this then what will you do when you become chairperson of EC?”, Mr. Adams revealed the party’s 2020 fears.
Kofi Adams would not so much consider the nomination of political science lecturer as a commissioner expect to say he is an “NPP propagandist” who operates outside the party structure.
He could not remember the nominee making any negative criticism against the governing NPP in recent times although there is a good dossier on her criticisms of the NDC.
With the four nominations set for scrutiny by the Council of State, the NDC politician made a radio appeal to the advisory chamber to correct the President’s wrongs in this matter.
The Council of State should “live above reproach” and “do the needful” by rejecting the President’s choices as “wrong decisions”.
The NDC which boycotted the IEA for failing to consult it when organising presidential debates suspects the President did not consult wide enough in settling on very unsettling choices.
But Abu Jinapor, who holds a joint position with Asenso-Boakye as the fourth most powerful official at the Jubilee House said a partisan boycott of IEA is insufficient reason to pooh-pooh on the nomination of the President.
He said the NPP has also had cause to boycott IEA accusing it of bias as the NDC presently does.
He said Jean Mensa must be doing something right and well if the NPP as well as the NDC has had to accuse IEA of doing something wrong.
It is, therefore, a sign of rising above partisan banters if the President can choose a woman from an organisation the governing NPP party has also had scores to settle with.
He also said Jean Mensa found favour with the late President and NDC leader Professor Evans Atta Mills who appointed her in 2010 as a member of the 1992 Constitutional Review Commission.
Abu Jinapor also said former President John Mahama also had cause to appoint an IEA debate moderator Prof. Jane Nana Opoku Agyemang as Education Minister, suggesting the choice could not be stretched to mean the IEA is pro-NDC.
He maintained consultations were broad and dragged the word ‘broad’ in a phonetic attempt to emphasise the president’s wide consultations.
The consultations were “brooaaaddd” but quiet, he said, adding the names were run by former Electoral Commission chairperson, Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan.
Jean Mensa and her husband, Dr. Charles Mensa set up the IEA in 1989. Dr. Charles Mensa was head of the influential governance think-tank until he joined the government as CEO of Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) in 2004.
Dr. Charles Mensa left his position as Executive Director after 15 years and his wife could be set to leave this same position after 14 years.
Another job in public service could see her depart for arguably the most challenging chapter of her career.
The last Chairperson< Charlotte Osei, lost her job within three years.