Jean Mensa’s absence in Parliament not a sign of disrespect – Electoral Commission

The Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana, has debunked reports accusing its Chairperson of disrespecting Parliament by failing to honour an invitation from the House.

In a statement issued on February 26, the Commission explained that the absence of Jean Mensa was due to other commitments which saw her leave Ghana before the invitation came in.

According to the Commission, the Chairperson had been invited for an election observer mission in Nigeria, therefore her two deputies had to represent her in Parliament.

“For the attention of the General Public, the EC received a letter from Parliament on Wednesday 22nd February 2023 inviting the Commission to brief the leadership of the House on the draft Cl on the registration of voters on Thursday 23rd February 2024.

“At the time the Chairperson had travelled to Nigeria at the invitation of ECOWAS/ECONEC for a peer exchange and election observation mission”, portions of the statement explained.

Jean Mensa's absence in Parliament not a sign of disrespect - Electoral Commission
A copy of the EC’s disclaimer

“That notwithstanding, Dr Bossman Asare, Deputy Chair for Corporate Services, attended the meeting together with other Directors of the Commission.

“We wish to state that contrary to the news item that the EC Chair has returned to Ghana, the Chairperson is still in Nigeria. She has not returned to Ghanaa”, other paragraphs of the statement further clarified.

The Commission however stated that despite the presence of those who represented the Chairperson, the Minority refused to give them audience stating that they wanted the Commissioner herself.

“Surprisingly, the meeting was cancelled as the Minority side insisted on the presence of the EC Chairperson at the meeting”, the statement added.

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It will be recalled that Parliament summoned the Electoral Commission to appear before the House to answer questions on its decision to use only the Ghana Card for the compilation of the 2024 voters register.

This followed public agitation about the move, with many citizens complaining about not having the card.

However, the EC Chairperson could not show up, but the Commission insists that the Chairperson respects Parliament and would have appeared if only she were available.

“The Commission, especially its Chairperson understands the importance of the institution of Parliament having worked with Parliament for two decades prior to her appointment as Chairperson of the EC.

“The Chairperson upholds the institution of Parliament and will therefore not disrespect it in any way.

“The fact remains that the invitation from Parliament was sent a day before the meeting, at a time when the Chairperson was out of the jurisdiction.

“Had she been aware of the request prior to her travel, she certainly would have prioritized the meeting and attended upon the Honorable House”, the statement concluded.

Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament has reiterated its strong opposition to the Electoral Commission’s (EC) decision to lay a Constitutional Instrument (C.I) which makes the Ghana Card the sole identification document for voter registration.

According to the Caucus, until this and other issues raised are addressed satisfactorily, they will remain in opposition to it. 

This is according to the Minority Leader, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson. 

In a related development, the Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), Professor Ken Attafuah, has reiterated his outfit’s commitment to issuing Ghana Cards to all qualified citizens.

Speaking on NewsFile on Saturday, the NIA boss stated that the Authority has the capacity to serve qualified Ghanaians despite the prevailing challenges.

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