MEC Chair Jane Ansah Out On Leave Pending Retirement
In the middle of a boiling political and legal pot in aftermath of the Constitutional Court nullification of the May 2019 presidential election and the subsequent order for a fresh election in 150 days, MEC chairperson, Jane Ansah, is now out on leave. Ans she will not be coming back.
Dr. Ansah has gone on leave pending retirement beginning February 1, 2020.
On February 6, 2020, however, Ansah on behalf of MEC filed an application for stay and a notice of appeal against the Monday February 3rd Constitutional Court judgment and orders in the presidential election case.
Justice Ansah leaves office at a moment the judgment of the court has dealt the commission a serious blow on its reputation as a credible body to manage elections given its conduct and management of the May 21, 2020 presidential election.
We called Dr. Ansah for comment. She feels her going on leave is not a public issue.
“I cannot be taking personal matters to media houses,” she said calmly.
Essentially, her leaving office could put to rest persistent calls for her resignation. The Human Rights Defenders Coalition-HRDC- led those calls through street protests, some of which turned nasty and fatal.
But Gift Trapence who is vice chairperson of the right organization, reiterates they want the whole commission to go.
“Our position remains that Jane Ansah should step down. Now more than ever with the determination of the constitutional court. Jane Ansah and the entire top brass at the commission. All commissioners must go.
“If they insist on staying, we will organize vigils in their homes until they see the wisdom to resign,” said Trapence.
Meanwhile, a debate has ensured over the status and authority of the office of MEC chairperson with some arguing is it now vacant while others feel she is still in office.
Ansah has, from February 1st, 2020, left on leave pending retirement in October a time when, coincidentally, she is also expected to retire as Supreme Court judge.
Meanwhile, she remains signatory of official documents such as the papers the commission has deposited with the courts as prayer for stay of the order of the recent Constitutional Court judgment and also the notice for appeal.
For professor of law, Garton Kamchedzera, Ansah would not, ethically, make decisions as MEC chairperson while she is on leave pending retirement.
But human resource experts, on the other hand, argue that technically, Ansah is legally still in office and cannot be deemed to have vacated it hence her signing.
Dr. Ansah is a senior counsel and a judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal.
Whichever way the debate goes, Monday’s constitutional court judgment has raised credibility and competence questions about the entire leadership at the commission.