General News of Saturday, 28 February 2015
Lawyer for the fisherman, whose court action against the Electoral Commission led to the cancellation of the March 3 elections by the Supreme Court, Alexander Afenyo-Markins, has blamed the commission’s intransigence for the current state of affairs.
Although the Lawyer, also a Member of Parliament for Effutu in the Central Region, is elated about the verdict, he believes the EC could have avoided this and saved the state money if they had paid heed to wise counsel.
Reacting to the ruling in an interview with Accra-based Citi FM on Friday, Mr. Markin said the ruling had given impetus to the rule of law and has also strengthened his confidence in the judiciary irrespective of its bottlenecks.
“The SC granted all our reliefs unanimously. Our contention had always been that until Parliament passed the CI 85, the EC had no business opening nomination for the elections. In any event, if Parliament had even decided to annul the CI85, on what were they going to hold the elections? I believe that you know how the EC struggled as to what law they relied on”.
He commended the Supreme Court Judges for dealing with the case expeditiously within three days.
“They were ready to advance the democracy and the rule of law of this country. It gives some of us the confidence and the faith that Ghana stands to work and all of us must have confidence in the judicial process no matter the outcome. But it must also be said that the EC must not act with impunity”.
“They could have avoided all these and saved the nation the cost if they had heeded to our advice in Parliament on 22nd December 2014. Various MPs who spoke on the committee’s report drew the attention of the EC to the fact that the opening of nominations before the maturity of CI85 was ultra-vires of the Constitution.
“I personally wrote three letters to Dr. Afari Djan; the last one dated January 15th. This man decided to ignore. I could not even get the courtesy of receiving a reply. Unfortunately I thought they had such a strong defense but they struggled in court and it’s a big shame”.
“Let the EC not take its mandate in the constitution so lightly. It’s a very sensitive mandate. They should thread with caution and respect Ghanaians and the laws of this country. They are referees and as referees they have to act in a manner that their judgement will be accepted by all. 2016 is just around the corner; and it’s their duty to follow laid down procedures in ensuring that Ghana’s peace is maintained and cemented so that Ghana as the envy of many countries will remain in an enviable position”.
The Supreme Court ordered the EC to start all over again CI 85; a legal instrument which seeks to demarcate electoral boundaries for the district elections in 2015. The ruling now paves way for any Ghanaian who was expecting the maturity of C1 85 to file his or her nomination.
Lawyer Afenyo-Markin, whose client met all the requirements, was denied a place in the polls a day after nominations was closed, compelling him to seek legal redress.
The Lead Lawyer for the EC, James Quarshie Idan had argued that the CI 85 which the plaintiff was basing his case on was not meant to empower the EC to conduct elections except to give backing to the demarcation of electoral areas.
But the seven-member justices of the Supreme ruled in favour of the plaintiff.
Meanwhile the EC in a statement on Friday signed by its Deputy Chairperson of the Commission in charge of Finance, Georgina Opoku Amankwah, said it had suspended all activities relating to the polls until further notice. This is in response to Friday’s ruling.