The Supreme Court of Ghana is the highest judicial body in Ghana. Ghana’s 1992 constitution guarantees the independence and separation of the Judiciary from the Legislative and the Executive arms of government. The Supreme Court was established by the Supreme Court Ordinance (1876) as the highest tribunal in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) during the colonial era (Wikipedia).
The reason the court was established was and is to ensure that justice is served to the very best of the rule of law. I believe when a case is presented in court, the plaintiff’s main aim is to ensure that the democratic principles that led to the establishment of the judiciary in the same manner ensures that cases are adjudicated democratically without resorting to conflict, for this reason the New Patriotic Party filed their petition against the Electoral Commission of the land in the 2012 general elections.
Lawyers representing the opposition Party filed a petition at the Supreme Court, giving meaning to the party’s declaration it would seek the nullification of the results which saw incumbent President John Mahama and his governing National Democratic Congress retain power. The Party contends the president secured the win through fraud.
Chairman for the Electoral Commission, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan on December 9, 2012, declared President Mahama winner in the Presidential contest. The president obtained 50.70% of the votes whilst his closest challenger Nana Akufo-Addo of the NPP, polled 47.74% of total votes cast.
The NPP rejected the results, claiming the elections were rigged in favor of President Mahama and indicated its resolve to challenge the results at the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court. Leaders of the party insisted there was ‘incontrovertible evidence’ of widespread irregularities which favored the president and greatly impacted the final outcome of the poll. Notwithstanding the financial loss to the country within those periods, it also psychologically painted the EC as an incompetent and an incredible, dubious and a doubtful institution. Though the ruling didn’t favor the opposition NPP, their acceptance of the verdict didn’t necessarily mean justice was served but to avoid possible conflict and chaos.
There’s always smoke that comes out of a quenched fire, in the mind of Ghanaians, a perception about the EC is created which the Ec needed to have worked harder after the court case in 2012 but yet we see the EC being dragged to court every now and then. It appears the EC now as we see it is much more incredible than it used to be under the watch of Dr.Afari Gyan. I will be as personal as possible on this and I hope you bear with me on that. There has being a whole lot of instances that, the EC with few months to elections has proven very careless on issues that are of national concern, an example is the cleaning of the voters register as petitioned by Abu Ramadan. The EC has being in court in recent periods and I won’t be surprised if both presidential and parliamentary candidates have lost hope in the EC’s credibility to conduct a free, fair and an unbiased election. The Electoral Commission (EC) rejected the nominations of Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings of National Democratic Party and 11 other presidential candidates in the upcoming December polls. But contrary to the EC’s decision, on the 28th of October and on the 4th of November respectively, both Papa Kwesi Ndoum of the PPP and Dr. Hassan Ayariga of the APC won their case against the EC’s decision to reject their presidential nomination based on reasons which are quite unconstitutional. These harsh decisions by the electoral commission makes many Ghanaians and even non Ghanaians to question the credibility of the electoral commission and with few days to election 2016, I would personally advice the electoral commission to be focused, try as much as possible to remain neutral and non-partisan and perform its duties as stipulated in the constitution and stop acting in a way that makes many Ghanaians have doubt as to whether the EC can exercise fairness in this year’s election.
My problem is, with the heat on the EC and how its credibility is questioned each day, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if a party drags the EC to court after the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections of rigging the elections even though the result may be as authentic as the total vote cast to ensure a particular party’s win.
Writer: Emmanuel De-Graft Quarshie
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