GHANA: The Verdict – SC Judges vrs The Constitution as the Independence of the Judiciary goes on trial – The layman’s Opinion
SUPREME COURT IN A DILEMMA OVER NDC VRS EC NEW REGISTRATION EXERCISE.
It is very possible that Ghana’s Supreme Court finds itself in a dilemma thanks to the brilliant submissions of the NDC and an even tougher situation compared to the election petition case of 2012. This is the reason why some civil society members and organizations are calling for a live telecasts of the case as the public interest keeps increasing.
In as much as our Justices may have their basis and arguments influenced by great philosophers and ideologist, the greater good of the country remaining peaceful and the sanctity of the apex Court are of much greater concern and comes in to play and not just the arguments put forward by the various counsels.
Truly, you don’t fight a mad man and cannot be found supporting a mad person who doesn’t know he is mad. You the privileged one must lead by example as the test of Reasonableness comes into play.
The first part of the submission by NDC seeks to get a definitive position on whether the EC can compile another register after the initial one is compiled. If the answer is yes, it opens the flood gates for the EC to compile registers at will but will still require the second part of petition to be considered.
On the other hand, if its a no, it settles the matter and we all go home and work with the existing register being grateful we do not have to look for coins for our friends and relatives to go and pay for documents so that they can queue in this Covid-19 rising season (of an average of 300 positive cases a day), in order to register.
If the second part of the NDCs petition is further considered, the SC in estimation will again have a difficult task as per the arguments the EC has put out. In the event that it goes in favour of the EC, there will be far reaching effects and implications such that:
a. all the activities of the commission since its existence will be null and void.
b. if at anytime the EC (the commissioners) feels it has sufficient dissatisfaction with its own work, it can elect to compile a new register
c. the EC has judicial powers
d. It makes irrelevant the provisions for Adjudication.
e. Nullifies the essence of concensus building when Adjudicating.
f. this current commission’s activities are to be without blemishes or human errors which is virtually impossible.
g. elections for the first time in Ghana will not be Free and as such cannot be fair.
h. the SC is likely to contradict its own stance.
One litmus Constitutional test the SC will have to contend with will be whether by its judgment, elections in Ghana will be Free and Fair or a reserve or the previlaged few who can afford.
From the people’s opinion, it costs money to obtain a passport or birth cert which implies that, if a Ghanaian needs any of these to get a voters ID, in effect, am paying to vote and only those with such disposable incomes will be able to pay and the least expensive of all is GH70.00 for a birth certificate.
A judgement in favor of the EC will further imply that, a state institution has been giving unfettered powers that could open it up to multiple litigations and could be a dangerous precedence in our judicial system and to say the least, could result in an embarrassment to the apex court.
In a larger breadth, such a ruling will open up the judicial process allowing for multiples suits in the various courts surrounding illegitimacy and illigalities referencing the side stepping of internal procedures that resultated in one incedent or the other.
The EC in its defense also argues that its pre 2012 voters cards are of dubious standard in the sight of the EC. Even though the SC did not grant that as a relief in the Abu Ramadan case.
So the critical questions are:
- What is the interest of the EC in presenting itself, as without flaws today?
- What is the assurance that if even there were such malpractices within the EC, such will not return because we have seen errors in communication, one too many, which themselves are signs of incompetence?
The EC by its conduct is also spitting on all the political parties and actors who through years of deliberations and considerations helped build consensus on such issues of shortcomings in order for us to forge ahead as a people in unity and strength.
In paragraph 29 of the EC’S submission, they disgracefully attempt to interpret the laws of the Supreme Court which in itself smacks of disrespect and disregard for the authority of the apex house.
They didn’t stop there but went ahead to cry more than the bereaved (forgetting they are referees) to determine by themselves (without concensus with stake holders) through the quotation of their regulations and comparing that to their actions and inactions, and in the absense of sufficient evidence of extent of infractions or any adverse effect on the players who are the beneficial owners of the electoral process, to declare their own actions as fruits of a poisonous tree. Where do they glee such powers from?
It is sad and unfortunate that we are seeing these entrenched positions from non but the referee of the elections. Such a posture or positioning places the actions of the EC beyond its mandate.
The potential effect of a referee being a regulator and player is the interference these conflicting roles creates and for a sensitive election like that which decides the President, the EC must ensure that, the elections are free and fair.
On the other hand, should the SC decide that, no, halt all these process and go into concensus building and try again next year to be without flaws, the ove 10m Ghanaians who are estimated to loose their votes will be safe, assured and their rights protected and upheld.
Let’s Pray for Godly wisdom and Devine understanding for our SC judges.
God Bless Our Homeland Ghana.
Credit: The People’s Court of Laymen and women, Ghana