Political Science Lecturer at the University of Ghana, Professor Ransford Gyampo, has said the bad blood between the National Democratic Congress and Jean Mensa has more to do with relationships than her being biased towards them.
According to him, the challenge has to do with the general relational incompetence of the Commission, a problem that has plagued the EC since 1992.
He adds that he doubts Jean Mensa will be biased as she treated all parties equally when she was the Executive Director of the Ghana Political Parties Program which was sponsored by the IEA around 2002 – 2016.
During an interview with Good Evening Ghana show, he said “Jean Mensa has been level headed in dealing with political parties for more than a decade under the aegis of the Ghana Political Parties Program which was sponsored by the IEA where Jean Mensa was the Executive Director. The program which brought together the leadership of political parties with representation in parliament to meet once every month at the IEA Secretariat to discuss issues of national importance in a non-partisan manner also had an arrangement that paid monthly stipends to the leadership of the political parties and paid for all the capacity building programmes of the political parties. The program also supplied office equipment and stationery to political parties periodically. Mr Asiedu Nketia of the NDC was the chairman of the Platform of General Secretaries under the Programme. All parties were treated equally under the program at least in terms of funding to them by the IEA headed by Jean Mensa.”
For the Governance expert, Jean Mensa would not deliberately set out to be biased against any political party given her track record in dealing with them.
“They [EC] simply have not been able to figure out how to deal with the opposition as referees. Their tone and posturing in dealing with the opposition have often compounded the situation and deepened the relationship cracks. It has been like that since 1992 but appears even more pronounced now. If the EC fails to soberly appreciate its role as an arbiter in dealing with political parties and choose to sound combative and ballistic in its response to the opposition, it would lose its own institutional peace and play a role in sacrificing the peace of the country, as its conduct of elections would be perceived by the opposition with perpetual suspicion and they may take the laws into their own hands during elections in a manner that would bring about chaos and relapse our democracy.”
Professor Gyampo said the EC must show maturity in handling provocations from the opposition as fire cannot quench fire.
“So, the EC must be calm and show more maturity in handling provocations from the opposition, which would always come. They must not be seen to be matching the opposition boot for boot or fire for fire. They must know that they cannot quench fire with fire. They must know that the unfortunate circumstances that led to their appointment and the current mode of appointment of EC heads, coupled with bad faith and distrust among political actors in Ghana, would necessarily make the opposition suspicious of every step they take, regardless of how genuine such steps may be. They must therefore show their independence by the work that they do and not respond to every provocative allegation made against them by the opposition. If they have to respond, they must do so in a very sober but assertive manner.”
Prof Gyampo opined that the electoral body’s “very dormant” Advisory Committee must also work publicly and behind the scenes to repair the badly damaged relationship between the opposition and the EC.
“All other stakeholders in our election process must also be concerned about the dangers of such frosty relationship for the peace of the country and we must all speak to ensure that there is peace, else we would all be the losers one day,” he said.