The electoral dispute over Krachi West Constituency has come to an end with a Ho High Court declaring the New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate, Mr Michael Yaw Gyato, as the winner of the 2016 parliamentary election.
Mr Gyato, who had been declared the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency, faced a fierce legal battle from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate, Mr Wisdom Gidisu, who sought to unseat him based on issues of over voting.
However, the high court, presided over by Justice Eric Baah, held that the petitioner could not make a clear case to warrant the cancellation of result from the six polling stations in dispute and, therefore, struck the matter out after over a one and half hour judgement last Friday.
The court ordered the registrar of the court to furnish the Electoral Commission (EC) with a copy of the judgement to certify Mr Gyato as the MP for the area.
Award of cost
The petitioner, Mr Gidisu is to pay a cost of GH¢20,000 to the MP and GH¢5,000 to the EC as first and second respondents in the case respectively.
Some party sympathisers who had thronged the court to support Mr Gyato, who is also the Deputy Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, carried him high to signify victory.
In the suit, the petitioner raised issues of over voting at six polling stations such as Lapas, Njare A and B, Banka, and Tokorano L.A. primary schools and prayed the court to cancel the results of these areas and declare him winner of the election.
In the judgement, the court only determined an over voting case at Katanga polling station with one vote from a total ballot cast of 266 instead of 265 but said it was insignificant to cause a cancellation of the results of the said polling station.
For the other five, the court observed that the inconsistencies that occurred were mere entry and arithmetic mistake, which did not prove any over voting.
He noted that the polling agents formed integral part of the electoral system and, therefore, were not ‘dummies’ placed at the centres without any importance.
He, therefore, agreed with the respondents that if there were any irregularities, the polling agents would have been the first to raise issues with the situation, which did not occur in the instant case. The judge did not, however, rule out the fact that the petitioner might have a case even if his agents failed to raise issues.
Make EC definition of over voting statutory
The judge, who said he had a challenge defining what over voting was, said he relied on the EC working definition for over voting, which states that ‘Over voting will be deemed to have occurred when the number of ballots in the ballot box exceed the number of verified voters’, to determine the case.
Source: Daily Graphic
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