CDD official questions why EC Chair, deputies have become spokespersons

Chair of the EC, first from right and her deputies

The Director of Programmes at the Center for Democratic Development (CDD) Ghana, Nana Kwabena Aborampah Mensah has asked the Electoral Commission to reform its communications department to ensure effective information delivery. He observed the absence of a functioning Public Relations Department in particular, was causing some damage to the image of the Jean Mensa-chaired Commission. The leadership of the EC has recently been criticised for letting Mrs Mensa and her deputies become the everyday mouthpiece and spokespersons for the Commission which critics say has lately become combative in its dealing with political parties. Almost all statements from the EC headquarters lately have either been signed by Mrs Mensa or one of her deputies, Bossman Asare, aside being the spokesperson of the Commission in media interviews. But the EC chair on the back of criticisms of some decisions of the Commission said her leadership will not allow any political party and even the Inter Party Advisory Committee to stampede the Commission on what to do. Political science lecturer Prof Gyampo last weekend descended heavily on the EC leadership, saying the chairperson and her deputies cannot be the mouthpiece and spokespersons of the Commission. “This work must be done by trained communicators. Problems of the Commission can be explained in the public domain by those who are well trained and are currently being paid by the tax payer for that job description,” he insisted. Commenting on the issue Saturday on TV3 Key Points, a news analysis show, Mr. Aborampah Mensah underscored the need for the EC to have a functioning PR Department to speak to the issues regarding the EC which may come up, instead of the Commissioners having to respond to concerns of the public. “Before, it had a PR department and a public relations officer …Dzapkasu who was in charge of the PR and he issued statements. I have on a number of occasions questioned why Bossman endorses press releases, where is the PR?” Mr. Aborampah Mensah questioned. He asked the the EC to “reform, and organise their PR department so that the PR officer does some of these things the way a trained communicator will communicate something.” In his view, since the EC leadership is under constant attack from some political parties and the public, it ought to “develop a thick skin”. “Because you are furious and angry, you may come out in a manner that will cause insults…and that is not good for the image of the Commission,” he argued. For him, the Commissioners only ought to come out to speak when there is a pertinent issue to be addressed.

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By Irene Amesimeku||Ghana]]>