The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Ghana, Jean Mensa, has cited among a couple of reasons that “serious leadership challenges” in the Charlotte Osei-led administration accounted for the inability of the Commission to comply with a court’s order to implement the Representation of the People’s Amendment Act (ROPAA), 2007, Act 699 by December 17, 2018.
The Commission has therefore filed an affidavit at the Supreme Court for an extension of the time of implementation by 12 more months to be able to operationalise the Act.
In the affidavit to the Court deposed by the Chairperson of the Commission, Jean Mensa, the Commission says it has not been able to kick into effect Act 699 because the then Charlotte Osei-led EC had management problems.
“I say that after the judgement of the honourable court, and before the order of the court could be complied with, 1st Respondent [EC] experienced serious leadership challenges eventually leading to the removal from office of my predecessor and the Deputy Commissioners who were then in the Commission,” it read.
The affidavit further notes: “I say yet again that prolonged leadership challenges at the 1st Respondent/Commission and stalled decision-making at the management level of the 1st Respondent/Applicant and thus affected the operationalisation of Act 699 within the one (1) period ordered by this Honourable Court.”
The Chairperson of the EC additionally deposed to the fact that the Commission “was unable to implement the order of the Court thereafter because of its work relating to National Assignment for the just ended creation of the six (6) new regions in the country”.
She has however stated that the EC has inaugurated an implementation committee chaired by the Deputy Chairperson, Dr. Bossman Asare Eric.
The committee is in consultation with the general public and the stakeholders and other countries that are practising External Voting to take the appropriate steps for its implementation in Ghana.
She has thus prayed the Court to extend the date of operation of ROPAA to January 2020.
“…for the extension of time for twelve (12) calendar months ending January 2020, to enable the 1st Respondent/Applicant herein take the necessary steps as ordered by the court in its judgment referred to above,” the affidavit said.
Meanwhile, an opposing affidavit by Anna Owusu Mireku, a staff of A-Partners @Law, alleges that the failure of the EC to implement the court’s order by the given deadline amounts to contempt of court.
“The instant application for extension of time by the EC itself is a show of contempt, as the Court gave the EC and its Commissioners until November 30, 2018 to announce its difficulties.”
She argues the conduct of the EC does not justify that it is deserving of an extension.
“The absence of this date in the motion of the EC shows that contemptuously, they not even aware of it and certainly did nothing. They are therefore praying the Court to treat the actions of the EC as having treated the Honourable Court with Contempt and that they do not deserve a grant of the present prayer for an extension of one year,” she said.
The parties will move their motions in court on the 12th of February 2019.