The Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has explained why the chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Ghana (EC), Jean Mensa, did not appear before the House last week Thursday for a discussion on the new Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) for the 2024 elections.
Speaking in a Neat FM interview on Tuesday, February 28, 2023, which was monitored by GhanaWeb, Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu refuted assertions by the Minority Caucus of Parliament that Jean Mensa intentionally refused to appear before Parliament.
According to him, three agencies, including the National Identification Authority (NIA), the EC, and the Ministry of Finance, were sent letters to appear before the House, and the letters did not specify that the heads of these institutions should be the ones to appear.
He added that, as the leader of government business in Parliament, he was aware that the EC Chairperson had already traveled to Nigeria to lead commissioners in the sub-region to supervise the Nigerian elections.
“These three agencies, including the EC, the NIA, and the Ministry of Finance, were sent letters to appear before the Parliament…Nowhere in these letters was it stated that Ken Atafuah, Jean Mensa, or Ofori-Atta should be the ones to appear before the House.
“But the NIA boss, Ken Atafuah, led the NIA team to Parliament; Abena Osei Asare led the Finance Ministry and was later joined by Ken Ofori-Atta; but the Electoral Commissioner herself was not around, so one of her deputies was here.
“…the woman (Jean Mensa) left Ghana for Nigeria on Wednesday. So she was not even in Ghana when the letter was sent to the commission, and also the letter did not in any way specify that Jean Mensa should be the one to appear before the House,” he said in Twi.
He added that suggestions by some members of the Minority Caucus that the commissioner was in Ghana were not true.
Parliament on Thursday sacked officials of the Electoral Commission and the National Identification Authority over the absence of EC chairperson Jean Mensa.
Officials of the EC and the NIA had been summoned to brief MPs on a new CI seeking to make the Ghana card the only proof of nationality for voter registration. The CI is also seeking to scrap the guarantor system and limit continuous registration to district offices of the EC.
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban S.K. Bagbin, had directed that the Chairperson herself, Jean Mensa, appear for the briefing and represented at the highest level at the next meeting of the committee with officials of the commission and the National Identification Authority (NIA).