The Director of Legal Affairs of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has expressed disagreement with former Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan’s proposal for sanctions against political parties that file baseless election petitions.
While speaking as the keynote speaker during the Constitution Day Lecture on Monday, January 8, Dr Afari-Gyan suggested the imposition of sanctions for election petitions that do not succeed in court to prevent their proliferation and ensure they are not used merely to satisfy financiers and supporters.
“…To prevent the rush to court with improbable election petitions from becoming a fashion, I suggest that election petitions that do not succeed should attract punitive sanctions, ”he proposed.
In response, Mr Edudzi Tamakloe disagreed with the proposal, arguing that punishing petitioners appearing before the Supreme Court for presidential elections would discourage them from using the judicial process.
He expressed concern that such a policy might lead to protests in the streets as an alternative means of expressing dissatisfaction.
He further stated that, the 1992 Constitution is founded on the premise that Ghanaians should be encouraged to defend it.
“I disagree with the policy proposal by him [Dr Afari-Gyan], and my disagreement is that if you are using cost to discourage people from approaching the court when they have reasons to believe that they have been cheated in the presidential election, they will resort to the street…We should not joke or foil with electoral justice at all,” he said.
The Chairman of the Constitution and Legal Committee of the New Patriotic Party, Frank Davies, supported Dr Afari-Gyan’s proposal, stating that it should be considered.
He stated that many petitioners are aware that their cases lack merit. However, they resort to legal action to maintain support from their grassroots followers. Subsequently, these cases end up being dismissed by the Supreme Court.
“I agree with Dr Afari-Gyan because you weigh every case according to the materials which are brought before you,” he said.