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Supreme Court Must Not Bury Justice In Klottey Korle   
 
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17-May-2016  
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The Supreme Court is on Thursday May 29 going to sit to decide whether or not Zanetor Agyeman - Rawlings can run for NDC party primaries even when she is NOT a registered voter at the time of the parliamentary contest last year. But isn’t it clear enough by now that all political parties in Ghana including both the NDC and NPP have constitutions that were created to ensure that anybody running for office on their tickets must be active political activists?

How will anybody who is not a registered voter be qualified to run for public office on the ticket of any political party in Ghana when the rules are there to make sure that only active members of political parties can run for office? 

The two major political parties in Ghana are the NDC and the NPP. They’re both constitutions are similar when it comes to who qualifies to run in the primaries as a parliamentary candidate.

The NDC constitution is very clear on who can apply to run as a parliamentary candidate. 

Article 43(9) of the NDC Constitution (as amended in 2010 and 2014) provides that ‘A member shall not be qualified to contest primaries for any Parliamentary seat if he is disqualified under national electoral laws from contesting for any parliamentary seat’.

 Article 43(10) of the same NDC Constitution provides that ‘The National Executive Committee shall issue guidelines regarding the election of Parliamentary candidates based on the provisions of this Article’.

 The National Executive Committee of the NDC (NEC) based on this article, issued the ‘Guidelines for the Elections of the NDC Parliamentary Candidates for the 2016 Parliamentary Elections’ which provides in Sections B & C as follows:

Section B, entitled ‘Qualification’, provides that ‘a person wishing to contest to be a parliamentary candidate of the party must:


• be a citizen of Ghana, who has attained the age of 21 years;
• be a card-bearing member of the party who has paid party membership dues;
• be a known and active member of a branch of the party in the constituency;
• not be a member of any other political party;
• be qualified in accordance with the 1992 National Constitution to be elected as Member of Parliament’.


Section C, entitled ‘Disqualification’, provides that ‘a member shall not be qualified to contest primaries for any parliamentary seat if he/she

• is disqualified under national electoral laws from contesting for any parliamentary seat;
• is not an active member of the party at the constituency level for four years immediately preceding the date of filing the nomination;
• fails to meet the requirements for the election of Member of Parliament under Article 94 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana’.

 Article 94(1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana provides that a person shall not be qualified to be a Member of Parliament unless ‘he is a citizen of Ghana, has attained the age of twenty-one years and is a registered voter’.

Even the opposition NPP constitution in accordance with the national constitution is not different on this question of who qualifies to run in party primaries.

NPP constitution article 11(4) states ‘No Member shall be entitled to apply for nomination as the Party’s Parliamentary Candidate for any Constituency unless he or she:

(i)                Is a known and active Member of at least (2) years:

(ii)              (ii) Is a registered Member and a voter in the Constituency which he or she seeks to represent’

 
Do we really need a Supreme Court to tell us from the above constitutional arrangements that Zanetor Rawlings was NOT qualified to run in the NDC parliamentary primaries in November 2015  when her name was NOT on the party and national voters register?

 How is it possible that an ACTIVE MEMBER's name was NOT on the party's register for which reason she could not vote for herself?

On all the scores, Zanetor Rawlings is disqualified by both the national and NDC constitutions and guidelines to contest for NDC parliamentary primaries.

A.      Zanetor Rawlings was NOT AN ACTIVE MEMBER of any branch of the NDC in the Klottey Korle constituency before the primaries in November 2015 because she did NOT vote in the past four (4) years neither did she pay party dues.

B.      Zanetor Rawlings DID NOT and COULD NOT VOTE for herself in the November 2015 NDC parliamentary primaries because her Name was NOT in the NDC party membership register.

C.      Zanetor Rawlings failed to meet the requirements for the election of Member of Parliament under Article 94 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana because she was NOT a registered voter as at November 2015.

D.     Zanetor Rawlings LIED to her followers and the high Court that she was a registered voter in November 2015 when she was NOT until April 29 2016.

E.      The Current Address of Zanetor Rawlings as a newly registered voter is NOT in the Klottey Korle constituency but in La Dadekotopon of her grandmother's house.

These are all FACTS and EVIDENCE that does NOT require the interpretation of any Supreme Court judge. Indeed, this does not require any court to tell us that she is totally unqualified. Unless, we want to say that the Supreme Court can change MEANING of laws in Ghana to suit some people because their parents have been former Presidents before.

 If everybody must be equal before the law, why did the NDC national officers overlook all these things when the NDC operates under a national constitution? The NDC party is NOT allowed to break even its own laws so why allow Mr. Asiedu Nketiah who is on record to have admitted breaking the laws of Ghana by involving himself and his party NDC in registering  minors to vote in Ghana be allowed to break the law again and again just to please their party founder??

The high court already saw this attempt by the NDC and Zanetor Rawlings to break the law of Ghana. The high court judge sitting on the case has proven to be a man of integrity, an upholder and defender of the supreme law of Ghana. Have the NDC, Zanetor Rawlings and their collaborators now run to the Supreme Court of Ghana so that the Supreme Court can help them break the laws of Ghana by Prohibiting Justice Kwaku T. Ackaah-Boafo from upholding the law at the high court? Why, if she believes she and the NDC have a case, why not let the case proceed in the high court? why run for cover in the supreme court?

Or does the NDC, Zanetor Rawlings and their collaborators think that if they could NOT corrupt a Justice of the high Court to help them break the law – in favour of Rawlings and his family - that they could now attempt to get help from a panel of Justices of the Supreme Court? for their information, the Supreme Court is there for truth and justice for all and not to dance to the tune of the NDC and the Rawlings'.

Zanetor, the NDC and her collaborators keep shifting the goal post. First they claimed at the high court that she has only expressed an intention to contest in the forthcoming elections and until the EC opens the nomination for the registration of parliamentary candidates, she is not a candidate properly so-called. This lame argument was brutally dismantled by the high court judge who called Zanetor’s argument ‘a wonderful poem which is a bad read’ because it is NOT supported by the facts and the law.

 The high court judge went on to say that as far as the NDC primaries in which Dr. Zanetor Rawlings contested are concerned; she has gone beyond the declaration of intention to being elected a parliamentary candidate and her status has radically changed vis-à-vis that election and it is that status change that the plaintiff Nii Armah Ashietey is challenging.

Is it because Zanetor, NDC and their lawyers thinks that this case against her is an ‘election petition’ so they have decided to go to the Supreme Court where it may take a long time to decide whiles she carries herself about as the validly elected parliamentary candidate of the NDC in Klottey Korle constituency? Is that why Zanetor is going about boasting that she has already 'won' the Supreme Court ruling even before the judgement day? does she think the Supreme Court is answerable to her family's whims and caprices?

Well, the high court judge, Justice Kwaku T. Ackaah - Boafo already reminded Zanetor and her supporters that there was NO basis for that contention. He said in his ruling that the claim by Armah Ashietey is not about irregularity and/or the sanctity of the elections held on November 21 2015 by the NDC. How then does the suit become an election petition - Unless Zanetor and the lawyers representing the Rawlings daughter are confused?

 The plaintiff is challenging Dr. Zanetor Rawlings’ participation in the November 21 2015 contest in which he participated and lost to Dr. Zanetor Rawlings, on the grounds that Dr. Rawlings SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO COMPETE BECAUSE ACCORDING TO THE LAWS OF GHANA, (Article 94(1)(a) of the 1992 constitution),THE NDC CONSTITUTION AND ELECTION REGULATIONS, SHE WAS NOT ELIGIBLE TO CONTEST.

Simple.

Is Zanetor Rawlings, the NDC and those supporting her to break the Supreme law now seeking to have the Supreme Court decide on this matter under different laws or the same laws? Isn’t it laughable that the young naive pro bono lawyer Edudzie Tamakloe who has been practicing law for less than three years has the effrontery  to suggest that the high court Judge of many years standing in the practice and interpretation of law has ‘erred in law’ in his ruling against Zanetor Rawlings in the high court?

Even as non-legal brains, we know that the Supreme Court CANNOT and will NOT take the views of a young naive lawyer more seriously than a learned high court judge. Besides, a decision by the Supreme Court against the judgement of the high court judge will be a needless effort to greatly undermine the work of the lower court, and therefore justice delivery in the country.

Besides, why will the Supreme Court Justices go to such great lengths to undermine justice by overturning the ruling of a high court just so that the daughter of former President Rawlings can contest to enter parliament? Isn’t it the same Jerry John Rawlings who brutally supervised the cold blooded murder of three high court judges in this country in 1982? 

The families of those slain judges are yet to get justice for those crimes. It will not only be a greater injustice to the memory of those murdered high court judges, it will also be an absurdity in the realms of the rule of law. If Rawlings and his family believe in the rule of law, they would have atoned for those murders of the high court judges. But here they are attempting to break the law again and again for their family's benefit.

It is better for the President John Dramani Mahama to distance himself far away from this case in the Supreme Court. We know that majority of the judges on the panel for this case were appointed by President John Mahama. We also know that President Mahama is doing all he can to satisfy former President Rawlings for whatever inordinate reasons. But President John Mahama MUST let the Supreme Court do their work without fear or favor since he himself has sworn to uphold and defend the constitution of Ghana. It is time for him to demonstrate that he believes in the rule of law.

The Superior Court justices MUST also bear in mind that the Ghanaian people are watching to see if JUSTICE will be BURIED to please a few power hungry people or it will be UPHELD to please the soul of the nation and the people.

Some of us personally believe that the incumbent MP for Klottey Korle Nii Armah Ashietey is a spent force. He has lost touch with the people and must be replaced. However, such replacement CANNOT be done through illegal means such as the methods being adopted by Dr. Zanetor Agyeman – Rawlings and her father’s NDC party.

Some of us hope and believe that the legal integrity of the five Supreme Court justices siting on the case on May 19 2016 including William Atuguba JSC, Anim Yeboah JSC, Yaw Apau JSC, Gabriel Pwapang JSC, and Anthony Bennin JSC, will not allow them to BURY JUSTICE in the face of overwhelming evidence. After all, no one is above the law, as the 1992 constitution stipulates.
 
 
Source: Ghana Revealer
 
 

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