August 30, 2014

The Member of Parliament for Ablekuma West, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful fears the lack of ‘definitive statement’ by the Supreme Court (SC) in its election petition ruling could scare aggrieved parties from going to court in subsequent elections.

After eight months of sitting, the court’s verdict has rather left many people, including lawyers, confused, she admitted on Joy FM’s flagship programme, Newsfile on Saturday.

In her analysis, the New Patriotic Party MP said the Supreme Court fell short in its declaration on what the laws say about what “constitutes proper election” as well as the legal framework and legal way for future elections.

In his criticism of the SC ruling, a constitutional lawyer, Prof. Kwasi Prempeh accused the court of failing to give binding recommendations for electoral reforms to the Electoral Commission.

Delivering a paper in Accra to mark the one year anniversary of the landmark ruling, he indicated that the SC’s recommendations “are analogous to non-binding advice…those recommendations cannot compel the EC to do those things that have been recommended.”

And Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful to a large extent, shared Prof. Prempeh’s analysis that the ruling lacked clarity and certainty regarding how elections must be conducted and how to mount a successful challenge in court in the event of a disputed election.

“I agree with Professor Kwasi Prempeh’s analysis that the ruling left all in legal profession confused,” she remarked.

“And that is the source of my fear that in 2016, we are going to have very difficult situations across most polling stations because the court in effect, has told us that ‘don’t bother collecting evidence on the face of the pink sheet or whatever. Don’t bother analyzing the law vis-à-vis what actually happened on the grounds. Just make sure that whichever ballots you want to enter the ballot box are counted and declared, because so long as they are we would uphold it.”

However, Felix Kwakye-Ofosu, Deputy Communications Minister believed, the NPP, going to court to overturn about five million votes when “they have not shown any evidence of fraud” was “inherently unjust” attitude on its part. The errors the NPP was relying on were “obvious clerical errors,” he claimed.

In his view, the foul cry over the 2012 presidential election was meant to play Nana Akufo-Addo as the victim and make him relevant instead of accepting that the party’s 2012 campaign was unsuccessful.

“I don’t know why somebody who wants to be a president would want the right of the citizen curtailed just because of infractions that did not affect the results?” he questioned.