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Stubborn EC Punched

Stubborn EC Punched

Tue, 3 Mar 2015 Source: The National Forum

the cause of legal blunders

Quarshie Idun a problem

Today we are not having the District Level Elections, DLE as was

advertised on several media platforms by the Electoral Commission, EC

of Ghana. Warnings from Legislators, Lawyers and actors in the

political space went unheeded.

In the words of Mr Abdul Malik Kwaku Baako: "This [suspension of the

elections] is just a classic example of some institutional arrogance

and impunity. It ought not to have come to this point because the EC

was advised ahead of time."

The Supreme Court on Friday February 27, 2015 declared the DLE

unconstitutional, compelling the EC to suspend activities towards the

March 3 polls.

The Court further ordered the EC to re-demarcate electoral boundaries

for the elections, in accordance with CI 85. The EC was in fact

relying on some other Law unknown to the District Level Elections to

conduct the elections.

An application was sent before the Supreme Court by Benjamin Eyi

Mensah who had presented his forms on Monday, December 22, 2014 to be

filed as an Assemblyman aspirant for Efutu in the Central Region but

was told that the filing of nominations closed on Sunday, December 21,

2014 at 5pm.

The aggrieved aspirant then went to the highest court of the land, the

Supreme Court and obtained a favourable judgment.

"The EC's legal team had consistently changed its position. It comes

with some other legislation that it is using to back its preparations;

when it is thrown out it comes up with a different one. Pathetic!" So

said Mr Baako on MultiMedia’s Saturday talk show NewsFile.

Not too long ago in 2013, the whole world witnessed the pathetic

defence put up in court by hired Lawyer for the Commission – Quarshie

Idun (Esq). But for the spirited defence that was mounted by the

defence counsel for President Elect (then) and the party that

sponsored him, NDC namely Tony Lithur (Esq) and Tsatsu Tsikata (Esq)

the petitioners counsel Philip Addison (Esq) would have enjoyed a

jolly ride to victory.

The Electoral Commission of Ghana has no Legal Department and

apparently no in-house lawyers to attend to their legal needs. Thus

the EC has always relied on external solicitors to do their legal

bidding and often times in a lazy manner.

Ridiculing Mr Quarshie Idun, Alhaji Halidu Haruna of the NDC said

“even me, who is not a Lawyer, if I had gone to court with the EC

lawyer on this matter, I would have defeated him…I don’t simply

understand…I certainly think Quarshie Idun did not help.”

“The legal branch did not help the EC…this is basic for the EC to know

the law must mature after 21 days…,” he added.

Instead of immediately setting up a legal department after the Supreme

Court Petition in 2013 and recruiting some young and sharp lawyers to

fill it the EC sat, watched and relied on repealed and non-existent

laws to enter the District Level Elections.

Counsel for the Applicant, Alexander Afenyo Markins(Esq) who is also

the Member of Parliament for Effutu revealed that he had personally

written to the EC on two separate occasions to draw their attention to

the blunder but all that went unheeded.

Elections pundits TNF spoke to were unanimous in stating that “the EC,

as a creature of Law must ensure that it is always operating under the

ambits of the Law.”

Columnist: The National Forum