General News of 2014-08-30

Election petition: SC’s verdict was of “dubious value” – Prempeh

A professor of constitutional law, Kwasi Prempeh has described the Supreme Court’s majority ruling on last year’s election petition as being of “dubious value”.

The Seton Hall University School of Law Professor told a forum organised by policy Think Tank, IMANI Ghana, Friday, to mark the first anniversary of the election petition verdict in Accra that the “court’s judgment failed to bring clarity or certainty in how our elections must be conducted”.

“Are presiding officers legally bound to sign the pink sheet? Is a re-run of the election between the contending parties the only permissible remedy in an election petition? Or may the court order drastic remedies like a re-count or a re-vote in the constituency?”

“These are the questions that the parties and candidates would like to know. Unfortunately, these are the questions the Supreme Court failed to answer”, Prof Prempeh bewailed.

Ghana’s highest court, on August 29, 2013, upheld President John Mahama’s victory in the 2012 elections, following a long-drawn petition filed by the main opposition New Patriotic Party’s 2012 presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo, together with his two-time Running Mate Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and party Chairman at the time, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey.

They prayed the Court to annul Mahama’s victory with reason that the elections were marred by widespread irregularities. Although their petition was dismissed, the Court ordered the Electoral Commission to implement certain reforms to ensure future elections are devoid of infractions.

Prof Prempeh believes the Supreme Court, in its ruling, should have outlined a proper procedure for dealing with election petitions, successfully, in the future.

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