John Mahama and Jean Mensa
Former President John Dramani Mahama has sent strong signals that the Electoral Commission (EC) is going to be the opposition National Democratic Congress’ (NDC’s) main opponent in the 2024 general election and not necessarily their political rivals, the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Mr. Mahama, who is not yet the party’s candidate for the 2024 contest but has been parading himself as their flag bearer, has not relented in attacking the commission at the least opportunity ever since he lost the 2020 presidential election and unsuccessfully challenged the results declaration at the Supreme Court.
He initially started his unprovoked attacks on the EC Chairperson, Mrs. Jean Mensa, but appears to be shifting his focus on her Deputy in charge of Corporate Services, Dr. Eric Bossman Asare, in recent times.
Dr. Bossman Asare’s crime was the he had challenged the former President, at an official EC press conference, to produce evidence on his unverified claims that the EC thumb printed one million votes in favour of the NPP during the 2020 general election, and had called on the police to investigate the matter since it bothered on criminality.
Starting his Greater Accra Regional ‘Thank You’ tour yesterday, Mr. Mahama did not waste time on pro-NDC stations Radio XYZ and Power FM when he launched a blistering attack on Dr. Bossman Asare, calling him an NPP agent at the commission.
He said the NDC has no confidence in Dr. Bossman Asare, as far as fairness in the impending 2024 election is concerned, and made a U-turn to say that the party rather has confidence in Mrs. Jean Mensa – whom he has been attacking every time – because she bears the ultimate responsibility.
He said, “Bossman behaves like an NPP person; his posturing, his body language, everything smacks of NPP. The way he was arguing with me when he was reading their response was as if he was fighting his rival,” adding “the way he responded was as if he has a grudge with me and right from the start, he said the NDC was an existential threat to Ghana’s democracy and, so, he has declared his stance. So, we have no hope in him.”
Mr. Mahama then said “the person we have hope in is Jean Mensa because she is the Chair of the Commission and she bears ultimate responsibility and not Bossman Asare,” adding “we know he (Bossman Asare) is an NPP man.”
“I know he is an NPP man. We know his track record at the University of Ghana before he became commissioner. He was an NPP patron, so, we don’t talk about him but Jean Mensa is the Chair and she takes ultimate responsibility and, so, she must put her foot down and make sure that the right thing is done.”
After making the spurious one million votes allegation, Mr. Mahama now appears to say he would not submit himself for local investigations.
He rather wants ECOWAS to investigate the matter, suggesting that the police may not do a thorough job.
“That is what I want, they said we should have an investigation, let’s have an investigation. But I don’t know if the police are the best to do that. I don’t know what the police are going to investigate. We want an independent inquiry or let’s go to ECOWAS. ECOWAS has an electoral body, let them come and investigate Ghana’s election of 2020. I will welcome it, I will testify. Under oath, I will swear an oath and testify. I won’t run away from the witness box,” Mr. Mahama said.
He again attacked the credibility of the current Jean Mensa-led Electoral Commission claiming the commission’s image is sinking.
He even said that when Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan and later Mrs. Charlotte Osei were there, the commission was number one in West Africa but it is not the same under Mrs. Jean Mensa.
“I don’t hate the Electoral Commission or Jean Mensa. I want to make sure they are the number one Electoral Commission in the whole of West Africa because that is the perception of the EC,” he said.
He also said that “when Afari Gyan and Charlotte Osei were there we had been the leading electoral commission. When I went to Liberia for election monitoring, after first round there was confusion, ECOWAS sent a technical team led by Charlotte Osei to come and sort out the Liberian EC problems and she came and sorted it out.”
“Everything that I say is to make them sit up, they must redeem themselves in 2024 so when I am pointing out their mistakes it is not that I hate them.”
Ghana In Despair
He switched his attention to the Akufo-Addo-led administration and said that Ghana is in a state of despair.
Mr. Mahama said he realised the extent of hopelessness after touring the country to thank Ghanaians for their votes in the 2020 election, and said that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the lies of the government.
“We’re in a state of despair; people are sad, people have regretted because this is not what the government promised them. Before the elections, they did a lot of things, i.e., free water, free light, free this and they spent GH¢11.9 billion of the COVID funds from March to December and a lot went into convincing people,” he said, adding “they gave small business loans via MoMo of about GH¢2,000 but today, we are all paying that back.”
He said “very soon the Finance Minister will be presenting the budget and you’ll realise the economy is in tatters,” adding “they said the economy was resilient and the Vice President said if there was any external shock, for six months, Ghana will not need any external intervention. But within two weeks of COVID, we went to the IMF for money. What happened to that resilient economy?”
“The economy had no buffers and, so, within two weeks of a COVID situation, when there was a lockdown; we were begging the IMF for money… , so, it shows there is a certain culture of lying about things and all that to deceive Ghanaians and we can see that it has all unravelled and the truth is here for all to see,” he added.
By Ernest Kofi Adu