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General News of Monday, 9 September 2013

Source: Joy Online

Time limit for election petitions not needed - VCRAC Crabbe

Eminent Jurist and chair of the Law Review Commission, Professor Justice Vincent Charles Richard Arthur Cyril Crabbe has expressed his disagreement with calls to set time limits for election petition cases.

In reference to the Kenyan example in which the Supreme Court quickly ruled on that country’s election petition in a record 14 days, Prof. VCRAC Crabbe, said evidence turned up after the verdict of the court, “might have changed things”.

Vice President Amissah-Arthur recently suggested a six-week time frame for settling and determining subsequent election petition cases and uncertainties that may emerge

Speaking on Tarzan’s Take on Multi TV, Justice Crabbe said the only way to have ample time to deal with election disputes, is to adhere to the constitution which stipulates that general elections should be held, four clear months before swearing-in a new President and three clear months before dissolution of Parliament.

“The constitution itself pre-supposes that you could have a challenge which could over-run the period, so there is a provision in the constitution, that if an election is upset, whatever the President had done remains valid,” he stressed.

He is happy that the case went to court, in order to test the law, as was done in 1969 when the election of Edward Akufo-Addo was challenged just as that of John Mahama has been challenged in 2012.

He urged political parties to agree in principle on the best ways forward ahead of the next elections, agreeing with assertions that Ghana’s elections are generally transparent and all-inclusive.

The problem however, according to him, is how to make the system operational and more effective to avoid disputes.

His views on Tarzan’s Take, were that most of the electoral problems we have as a country exist because governments lack the political will to enforce the law. He added that even in the absence of law, we fail to enforce conventions.

On the Inter- Part Advisory Committee (IPAC), made up of representatives of the various political parties in the country, he is of the view that there is a lot of mistrust amongst members and bemoans such a situation, considering the fact that issues discussed are fundamental to the welfare and governance of Ghanaians.

Justice Crabbe questioned “how often is it in the open for people to appreciate that politicians have been working together to evolve the system to make democracy work”, as against negative news of politicians being at each other’s throat.

He called for a critical look at CI75 and how far it complies with law because the constitution itself provides that “you have to be registered to vote, which means if your name is on the register, you are entitled to vote, so where does biometric come in, which became an issue.