Deputy Chief of Staff, Abu Jinapor, has denied claims that government was forced to eat humble pie and select an alternative nominee to head the Electoral Commission (EC) after its key pick rejected the offer.
Following the nomination of Jean Mensa to Chair the Electoral Commission, a print media, claiming to have inside knowledge of the nomination process, reported that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo only picked the Executive Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), Mrs Jean Mensa, because Prof. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, a renowned law professor, had turned down the appointment.
The newspaper reported: “The President was racing against time after waiting and hoping the revered lawyer [Prof Mensa-Bonsu] will change her mind and accept the EC top job and salvage the mess the government had plunged itself into with the removal of Mrs. Charlotte Osei, and attracted international bashing led by the American Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Porter Jackson.”
Many news portals picked the story and run it, giving some credence to the rumour.
In fact, prior to the release of the names to head the country’s election management body, Joy News sources within the government had also indicated that Prof Mensa-Bonsu was likely to be nominated.
However, rubbishing the claims on Joy FM/MultiTV news analysis programme, Newsfile, on Saturday, the Deputy Chief of Staff, mocked the so-called inside sources, revealing instead that, the nomination list released by the Presidency, with IEA’s Jean Mensa as the nominee to replace Mrs. Charlotte Osei, was not an afterthought.
Charlotte Osei and two of her deputies were removed from office on grounds of stated misbehaviour and incompetence.
“I have been very much involved in the processes, deliberations, consultations and all that it took to get to this point of the nomination of Madam Jean Mensa. Professor Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, has, I can say on authority, never, and I repeat, never, been approached by the President or any member of government as regards her nomination or possible nomination as Chairperson of the Electoral Commission. In fact, it never even came up. Her name never popped up,” Abu Jinapor clarified on Newsfile.
The Herald newspaper, a pro-opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) media outlet claimed that its “multiple sources” have revealed that Prof. Mensa-Bonsu had “diplomatically thanked the Akufo-Addo government for the consideration, and politely declined the job. “ But the Deputy Chief of Staff denied that claim swiftly.
“The President from the very get-go had been firmly settled on Mrs Jean Mensa. She’s been his first choice, she’s been his second choice, she’s been his third choice. There’s never been any instance where Professor Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu’s name came up,” he told Newsfile Host, Samson Anyenini.
Asked if the revelation that Jean Mensa has been the President’s choice all along does not contradict government’s position that the nominations to the EC were done after broad consultations, Abu Jinapor said it does not.
“The President engaged in broad, quiet consultations in respect of what his thinking was and the views that others will have about his thinking or the direction that he intended to go, and that is the consultation,” he said.