Honourable Madam Jean Mensa, I admit you’re not one of my students in the American Government/Political Science class in order to subject you to these long and boring lectures before going straight to whatever advice I have under my sleeve. Hopefully, you will come to accept that a sizable number of college-level lecturers are given to providing “serpentine” contexts in many of their presentations; often the main purpose is for contextual clarity. It’s against this backdrop that this one must be understood.
By the way, events happened in political space, workplaces, schools, churches, mosques and indeed in our lives all the time. These occurrences help humanize our interactions and other endeavours. Also, there are certain developments that play out in our midst every day that are so bizarre and petty that finding the “head and tail” of those events/problems is nearly impossible or it becomes wild goose chase. The classic example here is the political pettiness and the false construct of moral equivalence the Mahama-NDC faction is putting up in its incessant demonization of the current Electoral Commissioner, Madam Jean Mensa.
In a normal political atmosphere in which reasonable and relatively selfless debate of national issues by a viable opposition party that genuinely has the country’s supreme interest at heart, this unrequested advice wouldn’t have been relevant. But, as Ms. Jean Mensa knows by now, the current NDC brand that is advertised by ex-President John D. Mahama is not one’s typical opposition party with a conventional aspirant for the presidency.
This is because it’s the first time in Ghana’s political history a defeated-incumbent-former president is fiercely contesting again the seat of the presidency he lost by the widest margin to his main challenger. On that basis alone, Mr. Mahama appears to see everything through the prism of “dog eat dog world” political campaign of a lifetime!
As many of us have written over and over again, a sober reflection of the NDC’s 2020 flag bearer’s public and/or behind-the-scene pronouncements/demeanours depict a leader super nervous, paranoid, vindictive, and “mad as hell” as Americans would say. Obviously, JDM cannot wrap his head around the reality that he lost the 2016 presidential elections fairly.
And to add insult into injury, one of his “gold standard legacies” in the form of Ghana’s electoral institution represented by his specially-chosen former EC Ms. Charlotte Osei has been lawfully disentangled under the Akufo-Addo-led NPP government. So it is as if the current president has unleashed a merciless bodily blow onto the face of the ex-president and right after the harmful blow the Kyebi Tough Guy tells the Bole Show Boy to make sure he doesn’t cry loud.
Based on the humiliating scenario above, it’s surprising on some occasions Mr. Mahama forgets he is no longer president, so he acts/talks as if Ghana has a “co-president” and that person’s name is Mr. John D. Mahama. Then again, this makes him presumably behave he is not like any other presidential contestant running for the highest office of this nation.
For some reasons, JDM and his deep-dyed supporters seem to believe the EC through some foul means can make one win an election and become president of Ghana in this age of prying social media at the election collation centres. Other than that what else could have been the driving force behind all these insults, disrespect, and accusations Mr. Mahama, Asiedu Nketia, and many others within the NDC see in Ms. Jean Mensa that poses threat to them or for that matter creates a stumbling block against any party’s equal chance of winning the 2020 general elections? If today’s EC can easily rig presidential election for a particular candidate, none of us will be having this conversation in that ex-President Mahama’s hand-picked then EC Charlotte Osei would have definitely made it possible for her “golden boy” JDM to win re-election in 2016.
Any clear-thinking Ghanaian knows the current EC Ms. Jean Mensa has absolutely nothing to do with the self-defeatist behaviour of Ms. Charlotte Osei that conspired to ferment her sacking as the EC. Thus, the argument that from day one the NPP top brass has never liked Ms. Osei as then EC and that the party wanted her to go long time ago while in opposition and in power is childishly laughable.
Ms. Charlotte Osei created her own miserable circumstances leading to her shameful firing from the EC position. She gave her so-called detractors in the NPP a solid legal/constitutional basis to initiate her removal. It’s worth mentioning that the country’s constitution is very clear regarding the right steps to remove the EC in the event of dishonest behaviour. The occupant of that office cannot be dismissed in any arbitrary manner by anyone, not even the all-powerful executive president of the republic.
Yet, the NDC spearheaded by its General Secretary Asiedu Nketia backed by the party’s flag bearer Mr. Mahama are trying hard to create moral equivalence with fallacious underpinnings because Ms. Jean Mensa and her predecessor Ms. Charlotte Osei have management pathways that are poles apart, unrelated, and incomparable in terms of class and competence levels. But this variant NDC group does not care about the falsehoods they put in the air to mislead Ghanaians—including some of the clueless media—for power.
In fact, one of the prominent members of the NDC, Dr. Kwesi Botchwey, is reported to have observed that his party lost in the last general elections in part because they lacked good intellectual base capable of framing national debate anchored in coherent policy issues to win the hearts and minds of millions of Ghanaians.
It’s why my unrequested advice to Ms. Jean Mensa is that she must stop (if she is doing it) taking the bait from—especially—Mr. Asiedu Nketia and his political idol ex-President Mahama whose campaign flourishes on propaganda, insinuations, and conspiracy theories. The EC must not give any party the chance to drag her independent office into a baseless back and forth accusations of unfairness. Do not allow the ideas-bereft campaign machine of the ex-president to turn you into the P.R.O of the Electoral Commission.
If any party honestly has serious issues relating to the commission, the law court is there to resolve it. The NDC will never stop cynically pushing your buttons to get under your skin in an insulting manner. It’s one of the party’s grand schemes for 2020 elections and it was hatched by Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo with the full approval of Mr. John D. Mahama. Rise above the pettiness of Mr. Asiedu Nketia and co. Many of us know your quality, Ma’am.
Bernard Asubonteng is US-based writer