A retired Supreme Court judge, Mr Justice V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe, has called on political parties to be honest about the electoral system and help make it more credible.
“Politicians have to be honest and help avoid some of the electoral problems,” he said, adding that they should help clean the voters register by ensuring that minors did not register as voters.
Making the submission Thursday at the first quarterly National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) Dialogue Series, Justice Crabbe urged the parties to work together to help the Electoral Commission (EC) establish a clean electoral process.
He said political parties must ensure that the voters register contained only the names of eligible voters.
The NCCE Dialogue Series were introduced this year on the theme: “Engage, educate, empower”, with the view to discussing pertinent national issues required to empower the citizenry for them to participate actively in the political processes and help sustain Ghana’s democracy.
The topic discussed during the first in the series of the quarterly dialogue was: “Beyond the August 29 verdict: Lessons and path ahead”.
The dialogue featured Justice Crabbe and the Chairman of the EC, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, with Samson Lardy Anyenine, a broadcast journalist, as the moderator.
Justice Crabbe, who was the first Chairman of the EC, said it was good that the dispute over the 2012 election results was settled at the Supreme Court, adding that it was a means of strengthening “our Constitution and democracy”.
“We also have to be grateful to the judges for the work they did in interpreting the Constitution to resolve the issues. The Constitution is our historical instrument, our political instrument and our legal instrument that contains the aspirations of the people,” he said.
Justice Crabbe said all the issues that arose from the court’s verdict and the recommendations made by the judges bordered on administrative procedures in respect of the actions and inaction of humans and not as a result of the law.
He said that was why the judges gave their interpretation and verdict based on the context of each issue raised by the petitioners.
“Judges are part of society and they take society into consideration when deciding on a case as important as the election petition,” he remarked.
Justice Crabbe cited the issue of signatures, saying that the matter of presiding officers not signing the pink sheets was an administrative issue or what he termed a “human element” that needed not affect or interfere with the constitutional right of the electorate to vote.
He said there was the need for Ghanaians to distinguish between a person holding an office and the office itself.
EC addressing challenges
For his part, Dr Afari-Gyan said the EC was working to implement the recommendations of the judgement on the election petition.
He said the EC would also liaise with the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) to find solutions to some of the issues raised in the recommendations.
The Chairperson of the NCCE, Mrs Charlotte Osei, said from the discussions at the dialogue, it had become necessary that “we all play our roles in making sure that we have a credible system”