Politics of Friday, 12 July 2019
An Accra High Court on Thursday dismissed a contempt application against the Electoral Commission and its commissioners over the delayed implementation of the Representation of the Peoples Amendment Act (ROPAA).
Applicants had asked the court to commit the commissioners for contempt of court, claiming the EC deliberately refused to implement the ROPAA as directed by the court.
The EC Chairperson, Jean Mensa, and the commissioners were sued for contempt for failing to implement orders from the High Court that modalities should be put in place to operationalise ROPAA within 12 months.
According to the applicants, who all live outside Ghana, the EC had failed, refused or neglected to respect and comply with the orders of the court for the implementation of the Act within 12 months.
However, without giving any for its decision, the court asked the parties to apply to the registrar of the court for its full decision.
Prior to the ruling of the Court, Dr Jean Mensa deposed to an affidavit in Opposition to the Motion on Notice for Committal for contempt by Kofi A. Boateng PHD and four others where she said “on 18th December 2017, the High Court, Human Rights Division, presided over by His Lordship Anthony K. Yeboah, J (as he then was) gave judgment for the operationalization of Act 699 by the Electoral Commission of Ghana within 12 months reckoned from 1st January 2018.”
The affidavit continued, “I say that, at the time of the Judgment therein in 2017, I was not the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission. I was subsequently appointed in July 2018 as the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission and I was not immediately seized with the necessary orders of the Court in operationalizing Act 699 upon my appointment”.
“I say yet again that, having been seized with the orders of the court after my appointment in July 2018, and ensuring that steps are taken in complying with the orders of the Court, I through my lawyers filed an application for extension of time within which the operationalization of Act 699 would take place and in the said application I stated the reasons for the Electoral Commission’s inability to comply with the timelines set out in the judgment of the court referred to above. Attached marked Exhibit JAM 1 is a copy of the application for extension of time filed on 30th January 2019”.
Mrs Jean Mensa denied that “in the performance of my official duties as the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Ghana, I have acted willfully with the view to bring the administration of justice into disrepute or disregard. Save as herein before admitted, I deny each and every allegation of fact contained in the applicant’s affidavit in support of this application as if the same has been set out in extensor and denied seriatim.”