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Opinions of Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Columnist: Ali, Joseph Oswald

Supreme Court Ruling not Open to Choice

The loss of any election comes with bitterness and often very hard to come to terms with especially at the national level. The run-up to the 2012 elections came with heat, bitterness and rancor which finally fizzled into a declaration of results which are being contested in the court of the chief justice. As a nation of numerous commentators of all sorts of opinions the announcement by the NPP to proceed to court and the subsequently filling the case and this far the case has travelled has been enveloped in a lot of talk. Central to this is the bipolar partisanship and the twist and turns put to the court proceedings to put each party in good light. I wish to respectfully state upfront that the only option for an aggrieved party in an election is the court and nothing else. The supremacy of our constitution does not take into cognizance individual interest but national interest.

These days we wake up to calls by chiefs, religious leaders and other well-meaning Ghanaians for the two political parties to pledge accepting the ruling of the Supreme Court no matter the ruling. These calls are needless and unwarranted. For the reason that our constitution makes the Supreme Court the final arbiter in matters of this nature it ought to be respected. The NPP is also awake to the reality of what the ruling of the Supreme Court means and they repose confidence in it that is why they sent the petition there. On the side of the President and the NDC none had been subpoenaed to court because they had refused appearance this is evidence of their readiness to uphold the verdict of the court. What has emphasized the readiness of all parties in this matter is the caliber and quality of hardball litigators they have paraded in court to speak to their case.
This novel legal challenge is of prime importance to this nation since in the long run many issues which have been hanging unsettled after elections would be put to rest. Since the year 1992 to date the major loser in our elections often cries foul yet there has been no bold step as far as going to court is concerned. The basis of the election which is CI 74 has seen some fine tuning by the Supreme Court after Bernard Mornahs challenge of some sections of it. It is glaring that one of the major fallouts from this case has been the live coverage of a court case which is alien to our courts which in no doubt an enhancement of our democracy.
Of equal importance, is the deification of political parties and their leaders to be superiors to the laws of our land? This in implicit in calling for the main actors in this election petition Nana Akufo Addo and His Excellency John Mahama to pledge to accept the results, this clearly is a lack of fate in our laws and ought to be treated with contempt. The unfortunate impression is being created that the ruling of the SC is subject to the acceptance of one party or the other. The media which has become a who’s who in this petition is doing little to show it is of merit for the Supreme Court to allow them in. The misinformation that characterized the reportage of the case before it was made live has since persisted. The radio stations that use the local languages are the worse culprits this is either due to political motives or for want of professionals. Skating dangerously on that thin ice of misinformation could be a recipe for violence if care isn’t taken.
Moreover, the Supreme Court represents the supreme interest of the land would go every length to ensure justice is done, there is no doubt the in the long run the ruling would not go in favor of one party. This is the stark reality and must not be a surprise to anyone. The casting of aspersions and the seeming lack of faith in the impartiality of the Supreme Court by some pundits is condemnable and ought to be discontinued since no reasonable basis could be ascribed to this. The recent comments by Gabby Otchery Darko on the judges of the SC being timid and other insinuations veiled with such vile motives ought to be discouraged.
Suffice all this to say, the constitution which we have all adopted in its gives no exception to politicians or political parties alike to either honor the rulings of a competent court of jurisdiction or otherwise. Every ruling binds on all concerned until a ruling is made in the contrary. As a nation we ought to dignify ourselves a not be mediocre by often pointing out in other countries such a stalemate in elections would have resulted in a civil war when many examples abound of countries that have gone the way we’ve done. The rule of law is no respecter of the NDC, neither NPP nor their leaders the laws until amended remains. I wish to call on cool heads to prevail as our country goes through the rigmarole of a distance learning law program which in the long run mother Ghana would be delivered a first class law certificate of honors. It is of much joy that many Ghanaians have become adept with some legal terminologies which have flooded conversations on social media and contributing efficiently to enlightening many on the case.

Ali Joseph Oswald
Wa