The affected parties have since revelation of the new errors, accused the EC of shifting the goal post on the issue. The CDD has thus described the Commission’s claim of new errors as “manifestly unfair and a breach of administrative justice.”
The CDD in a statement reminded that the EC took the matter to the Supreme Court, ostensibly to bring finality to the many suits at the courts, challenging its decision to disqualify a number of presidential aspirants.
In light of this, the Centre questioned why the EC would go off on a tangent and introduce new issues that have the potential to instigate new suits, a situation the Supreme Court sought to prevent with the December 7 elections a month away.
In the CDD’s view, the EC had already detailed reasons for disqualifying the 13 presidential aspirants on October 10, 2016, and it was for these reasons that the aspirants went to court seeking to overturn the disqualification.
Thus, the CDD argued that,“all presidential aspirants should have a legitimate expectation that they will be asked to correct the mistakes that were publicly identified by the EC as reasons for their disqualification, anything more than that is an improper use of discretionary power.”
Find below the full statement
CDD-GHANA STATEMENT ON EC’S COMPLIANCE WITH THE SUPREME COURT RULING ON THE DISQUALIFICATION OF PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRANTS
The Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) has taken note of the forward looking and unprecedented ruling of the Supreme Court, yesterday, 7th November, 2016, ordering the Electoral Commission to allow all disqualified presidential aspirants to correct the errors on their forms and re-submit them to the Commission by close of day on Tuesday 8th November 2016. The Center is however, dismayed by the news that the EC at this late stage in the electoral process claims it has discovered new errors on the nomination forms of the disqualified presidential aspirants. The EC, as the news indicates, is therefore asking the aspirants to correct the new errors, in addition to the earlier ones within the stipulated time period.
The Center finds this new twist to the processing of nomination forms of presidential aspirants deeply troubling, especially because it was the EC that took the matter to the Supreme Court, ostensibly to bring finality to the many suits at the courts challenging its decision to disqualify a number of presidential aspirants. The Center also note that the EC implored the Supreme Court to invoke its supervisory jurisdiction in order to avert a constitutional crisis, taking into account the time sensitive nature of the 2016 electoral timetable. It is difficult to comprehend the EC’s decision to introduce new issues that have the potential to instigate new legal suits, which the Supreme Court in its lucid ruling and extraordinary consequential orders, had sought to abate – after the Court has heeded to the EC’s pleadings and issued pragmatic orders for management of the process.
In our view, the claim of new errors after the Supreme Court ruling is manifestly unfair and a breach of administrative justice.
The EC detailed reasons for disqualifying the thirteen presidential aspirants on 10th October 2016.It was for these reasons that the aspirants went to court and obtained a favourable outcome. Therefore, all presidential aspirants should have a legitimate expectation that they will be asked to correct the mistakes that were publicly identified by the EC as reasons for their disqualification, anything more than that is an improper use of discretionary power.
The Center wishes to remind the EC and all key election stakeholders that democratic governance and credible elections in particular are what is at stake for Ghanaians and for Ghana on December 7. Failure to manage the electoral process wisely puts our democracy at risk. Per the electoral calendar, we have already missed the original date for the publication of the Notice of Poll, which will now be published, hopefully, on Thursday, 10th November 2016 in accordance with Supreme Court orders – that is if the parties do not return to court.
We commend the Chief Justice and the Judiciary for the display of great proactivity, and acting with a sense of urgency and responsibility. Every effort must therefore be made to support their initiative. However, the EC, presidential aspirants, and all stakeholders in Ghana’s democratic governance must understand that it is not healthy or safe for the Supreme Court of the land to be the only institution for preventing descent into political chaos.
The Center respectively calls on the EC to pull back from the brink of electoral and potential constitutional chaos, as well as collapse of our nascent democratic experiment, and to allow the disqualified aspirants to correct the errors that formed the basis of their earlier disqualification, as ordered by the Supreme Court. Quick compliance with the orders will also afford the EC a little more time to carry out critical tasks ahead of this election including, educating voters about the voting procedure as well as some of the new innovations it has introduced to deal with rejected ballots and the transmission of results.
We call on all civil society organizations, professional bodies, faith-based groups, youth groups, the union movement, academia, and indeed on all citizens of Ghana to support the Center’s call to the EC to avoid a potential constitutional crisis.
God bless Ghana!