The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Jean Adukwei Mensa, yesterday stated categorically that she did not lobby for the position during a working visit to the offices of Daily Guide.
She said she never ‘dreamt about’ the position, let alone ‘lobby’ for it during an interesting and revealing interview she granted editors of the newspaper.
“I never knocked on any door,” she said with an infectious smile and confidence, adding “the door rather came to look for me.”
“I am taking my assignment as the EC Chairperson devoid of stress,” she said to an answer as to whether she is on a hot seat.
“It is not a hot seat. I am not feeling any heat. Do I look stressed? I do not go to bed thinking about it,” she said.
She recalled going to church one day and as she danced someone asked why she went for such a tough assignment and she replied that there was no such pressure on her.
“Do I look stressed?’ she asked again. Sometimes people see me and wonder how I am feeling being EC Chairperson,” she said.
With a smile, she denied being a relative of the President.
“Perhaps because I share the prettiness of Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo they think I am related to her. There is no relationship whatsoever as being alleged,” she revealed.
In her opinion, the headship of the EC, she said, is not a job one should even lobby for.
The EC, under her leadership, is being run openly devoid of secrecy, hence the visit to close to 10 media organizations she and her team plan visiting soon.
“We shall meet various stakeholders, some of them clergy persons from the various faiths, traditional rulers so we can discuss with them the way forward,” she said.
When asked about her reaction to suggestion by former President John Mahama that her ‘posture’ doesn’t give confidence that she would be ‘neutral’ in 2020, she replied that “The EC is not a secret organization. We are running an open door policy. We shall call on former President John Mahama as part of our outreach programme to stakeholders,” she said.
The Constitution of the country, she went on, is the light of the commission as it discharges its mandate to the people of Ghana.
Touching on her demeanour, which some NDC members say is ‘unfriendly,’ she said, “I smile to politicians who come for IPAC meetings because they are all friends I have known for long. I have interacted with all of them during my Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) days.”
The EC, she said, is on the verge of altering the face of the ICT department, which in its current state leaves much to be desired.
Describing the department as a key component of the work of the commission, she added that a Canadian consultant was engaged to assist in addressing the challenges confronting it.
He’s a person conversant with the EC, having worked with the commission in previous times.
“What we inherited is an EC where the ICT department is not entrenched in the electoral process,” she said.
The EC under her leadership is embarking upon a programme that would return the ICT department to Ghanaians in contrast to the status quo where the process and the accompanying infrastructure are not owned by the commission but by a vendor.
This situation, she said, is dangerous for the country and should be reversed in the interest of Ghana’s sovereignty.
“We believe that we can run our own system and not vendors. We want to move away from this system,” she said.
Continuing, she said “when we came we discovered that an amount of $56 million was required to refurbish the data centre towards the referendum and the district level elections.
“We decided to undertake an audit of the system and it came to light that our staff did not even control the password; this detail was lodged with STL who controlled it.”
She said the IT manager and the other staff in the department had no clue about what was happening, adding “we do not think that as a commission we should allow the status quo to continue.”
She was accompanied by top EC officials such as Dr. Bossman Asare, Samuel Tettey, Sylvia Annor and Lawrence Sarpong.