Ghana: PPP Sued Electoral Commission

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The Progressive Peoples Party (PPP) has sued the Electoral Commission (EC) in court for failing to make a provisional arrangement that would have enabled voters in the Kwabre West and Wulensi constituencies to elect Members of Parliament in a by-election, following the demise of their Members of Parliament (MPs).

Following an injunction placed on the two by-elections by an Accra High Court in the wake of a joint court action by the general secretaries of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), the PPP filed the suit at the Supreme Court seeking an order to set aside the injunction.

The High Court had ruled that it was illegal for the EC to use the old voters register to conduct by-elections at the two constituencies because the law which created the old register had been revoked.?The Kwabre West and the Wulensi seats became vacant after the death of their MPs, Alhaji Saani Iddi and Emmanuel Owusu Ansah respectively.

However, the EC had set aside July 31, 2012 for the Wulensi by-election and August 14, 2012 for that of Kwabre West, but the NPP, NDC and the CPP went to court and prayed the court to place an injunction on the upcoming elections because there was no substantive voters register.

The writ, filed by Koi Larbi and Co, solicitors of the PPP, is seeking seven reliefs including a declaration that by a true and proper interpretation of Articles 1(2), 2(1)(b), 130 (1) of the 1992 Constitution, the NPP, NDC and CPP, co-defendants in the suit, ought to have known that in omission of a provisional clause in CI 72, the Supreme Court and not the High Court had an original jurisdiction over the matter.

The party is, therefore, seeking an order to set aside the injunction granted by Justice Kofi Essel Mensah on July 27, 2012 on grounds that the judgement was procured without jurisdiction and, therefore, null and void.

The writ also relates to a declaration that on a true and proper interpretation of Articles 42, 45, 47, 51 and 130 (1)(b) of the 1992 Constitution, the EC, Parliament and any other authority have no power by law to make any law that has a potent effect in preventing constituents to vote and elect MPs to represent them.

The PPP is seeking an order directed at the EC to correct immediately the omission of a saving clause and or transitional provision under C.I. 72 and also hold the elections in Wulensi and Kwabre West in fulfilment of the object of Articles of 42, 45, 47 and 51 of the Constitution.

According to the PPP?s statement of claim, the voters register brought into being by C.I 12(c) had seen the country through the 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008 general elections with their numerous by-elections without any hindrance.

?Now, C.I. 72 replaces C.I. 12 and indeed revokes its foundation and all its entirety without provision of a saving clause and or a transitional provision especially the voters register until a new voters register is finalised and certified in accordance with law and same become operational for conducting public elections,? it said.

According to the writ, the danger of the situation to the country?s democratic sojourn was that if for whatever reason the country is unable to complete a new voters register before the December poll then it is not only Wulensi and Kwabre West constituencies that would suffer with no representation in Parliament but the entire country as well as the Presidency.

It observed that the far-reaching consequence of the omission of a saving clause and or a transitional provision under C.I. 72 for the previous register under C.I. 12 was alarming and must be rectified now or never.

The writ further submitted that within the meaning of Articles 51 the EC had mandate to promulgate regulations in order to execute its constitutional mandate under Article 45 of the Constitution.

It, however, stated that authority did not ground any power for the EC to make laws that had the effect to either covertly or overtly disable constitutional rights of others.

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