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Opinions of Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Is the Supreme Court Helping Mr. Mornah

.. to Win the Case for President Mahama - some Legal Brains suspect?

? It is about time we stood up to defend our collective rights and interests as enshrined in the country's 1992 Constitution. The statutory stipulations in forms of Articles, Clauses, Sections and Subsections as contained in the nation's Constitution are to be respected. However, in recent times, some people are perceived to be hijacking the Constitution. They are misinterpreting and seeking to downplay some clauses. The same people are vigorously aspiring to effect changes, or tear apart some statutes therein stated by pursuing court actions in the hope of attaining their selfishly misconceived, or mischievous, parochial interests.

? To bring home my point, pardon me to cite the General Secretary of the People's National Convention (PNC), Bernard Anbataayela Mornah. This gentleman has a few days ago won a Supreme Court case in which he prayed the Court to declare it illegal a requirement in the Constitutional Instrument 71B that makes it obligatory on the Supreme Court to sit everyday of the week, including public holidays, when dealing with issues and suits on presidential elections. He said it is illegal for the Court to sit on public holidays irrespective of the urgency of the case. He cited the Public Holiday Act to support his claim. The Court ruled in his favour.

? The Court, unfortunately selectively upheld his view by annulling that regulation making it compulsory for the courts to sit on cases as stated above. If working on public holidays contravenes the Public Holiday Act, why do Medical doctors, policemen and Fire Service personnel work on holidays? What is so special about the Supreme Court that they are to be exempted from work despite the urgency or the situational emergency of the work, unlike their compatriots in other services as just mentioned above?

? Furthermore, Mr Mornah, a Law student I understand, won at the same time a challenge he mounted against a similar Constructional Instrument barring anyone from appealing a Supreme Court's decision on a presidential suit. The five-member panel (Supreme Court judges) struck out the Constitutional Instrument, declaring it a bad law and hence, illegal. Any party pronounced guilty by the court in such situations can appeal the decision; the wish of Mr Mornah.

? This is very welcome news to especially, President John Dramani Mahama. I am certain he has been pushing this young man to pursue such actions knowing very well that the Electoral Commission will be found guilty in the ongoing case depending on the surety of the monumental evidence being presented by Nana Akufo Addo, Dr Mahammudu Bawumia and Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey.

? Anyway, Mr Mornah has been pushing his luck too hard. This is where I have to come in to truncate his dreams, downsize his high expectations. He has resolutely determined to prevail on the Supreme Court to declare it illegal the biometric verification process used to screen Ghanaian voters at Election 2012. This is where I am going to flex my muscle to clip his wings for good.

? Much as he has consulted his Counsel who tells him he stands the chance of winning any challenge he brings against the biometric verification, my White legal minds have the following to say:

? 1. The biometric voter's registration is an improvement come to exterminate until then known or alleged multiple registrations by possible Ghanaian voters. ?

2. Some Ghanaians were caught having registered more than once. One particular person was in the end apprehended for having registered fifteen times thanks to the biometric registration. If it wasn't the biometric registration, that one person could have voted fifteen times or more on 7 December 2012 in both the Parliamentary and Presidential elections. ?

3. Do Ghanaians not see the exercise as an improvement upon their previous one where there was no any effective mechanism of detecting and preventing multiple registrations and voting by some Ghanaian voters?

? 4. The biometric voter's verification compliments the biometric voter's registration in an immense way to bring about the ultimate purpose or objective of Ghana presidential and parliamentary elections based on Article 63 Section 2 of the Constitution. It states, "The election of the President shall be on the terms of UNIVERSAL ADULT SUFFRAGE and shall, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, be conducted in accordance with such regulations as may be prescribed by constitutional instrument by the Electoral Commission and shall be held so as to begin-"

? What is Universal Adult Suffrage, one may ask? "Every adult rich or poor irrespective of their religion, caste or education, colour of skin, race, economic conditions, is free to vote. Universal Adult Franchise is based on the concept of equality which means, one man one vote". Nobody should exercise more than one vote in any one particular election.

? 5. The biometric voter's registration and verification exercise was covered by Constitutional Instrument (CI) 75 that was empowered by Article 65. The Constitution states at Article 65, "The Electoral Commission shall, by constitutional instrument, make regulations for the purpose of giving effect to article 63 of this Constitution"

? 6. Did the Constitutional Instrument (CI 75) covering Election 2012 not contained statements on the biometric registration and verification; lay before parliament for 21 days to mature after which it became law and legally binding?

? 7. Did all Ghanaians and all the political parties not accept the rules in the relevant Constitutional Instrument(s) and therefore were obliged to abide by the rules or play by the rules of the game?

? 8. Did the Chair of the Electoral Commission not additionally orally strengthen the compulsory need for biometric verification by going on air to say, "No verification No vote (NVNV). And if I say verification I mean biometrically?"

? 9. Why did Mr Mornah not raise any concern or alarm about it prior to the election but long after the rule has applied, allegedly been abused, a petition about electoral irregularities including noncompliance with biometric verification filed at the Supreme Court and the case in the process of hearing? Who does he seek to fool? Who is he underrating their intelligence if not himself?

? They have concluded that the Ghana Supreme Court will be a joke to give a hearing to the case let alone, declaring a ruling in favour of Mr Mornah if he sought to disparage the Constitutional Instrument covering the biometric registration and verification as done in cases or issues mentioned above.

? They said the Ghana Supreme Court had better redeem their image than to seek to further discredit it by pronouncing disgraceful judgments. They said it will be very discreditable and erroneous for the Supreme Court to rule against the biometric registration and verification in this critical moment of a case relating to it pending in court without being accused of biased or working in the interest of a particular party or person.

? I finally asked them this question, how and where the losing party in a decision by the Supreme Court will normally appeal the decision as granted by the Court in the challenge mounted by Mr Mormah, that is, one can appeal the Supreme Court decision on presidential electoral violation case. The Supreme Court decision usually will be the final word in a case but here are they making a mess of themselves for a reason or the other. Will their own decision be reviewed en banc, that is, by a larger group of judges, usually all of the court?

? Nevertheless, they had not enough time to answer me. I shall not hesitate to let Ghanaians know what they say anytime they answer me. However, I shall stop Mr. Mornah, a seeming agent of President Mahama in his tracks by revealing what my legal brains in London tell me.

? Any successful attempt to declare the CI 75 on the biometric registration and verification illegal makes President Mahama and the entire Members of Parliament who availed themselves of that unique exercise to be where they are today fall with the law. They will have to be forced to resign their positions for fresh elections without biometric registration and verification to be organised.

? Is Mr Mornah intelligent at all? Why is he behaving like the folkloric "Kwaku Ananse" who thinking to remain the only wise person on earth gathered all wisdom into a covered pot with intent to hide it on top of a tree? He placed the pot in front of him, that is, on his belly. Tried as he did, he found it difficult to climb the tree only for his son "Ntikuma" to suggest to him to place the pot behind him, that is, on his back. It was only then that he could climb the tree. What happened then, please Mr. Mornah continue it for me. Wise person indeed, Mr Mornah is!

? Rockson Adofo ? ?