Supreme Court's 'dangerous' verdict has failed Ghana - Kofi Bentil
Speaking at a Public Forum on credible elections organised by pressure group, Let My Vote Count Alliance, Kofi Bentil argued that the election petition ruling totally put away the process used in conducting the elections, a move he said breaches every procedural justice principle.
According to him, the court’s judgment failed to bring clarity or certainty in how Ghana’s elections must be conducted.
The Supreme Court on August 29, 2013, upheld President John Mahama’s victory in the 2012 elections, following a petition filed by the 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. But their petition was dismissed.
The Court, however, ordered the Electoral Commission to implement certain reforms to ensure future elections are devoid of infractions.
But Kofi Bentil, who is also the Vice President of Imani Centre for Policy and Education, believes the Supreme Court ruling on the election petition failed Ghana and put it into a dangerous situation, particularly when it comes to organising elections.
He said: “The effect of the Supreme Court ruling is that today there is no law, no law regulating elections in Ghana. It does not matter if you are verified or not; it does not matter if there is over-voting; it does not matter if officials don’t sign, it does not matter because according to the wisdom of our justices, once the vote has been declared, that is the end of it, go to court and unfortunately that itself is a problem. Because going to court you have nine Justices, five of them declared that there have been irregularities. In law, you can’t declare that there have been irregularities and not have a remedy.”
“The remedies are quite a few; you can cancel the whole election, you can cancel the election for that polling station alone or ask them to do a re-run,” he said.
Kofi Bentil subsequently charged electorates to ensure they vote on December 7 and make an effort to ‘police’ the vote, by having what he calls a filming chain that will videotape everything that happens at the polling station.
The Public Forum was on the theme: "Ensuring Credible elections; The Role of the Elecorate."
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