Citizen vigilante and former Attorney General, Mr. Martin Amidu, has strongly argued that the Electoral Commission’s unlawful and deliberate disqualification of Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom and 12 other aspiring candidates was a trap set for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to create a leeway for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to rig the upcoming elections.
The Electoral Commissioner, he stated, came to the job with a mission to throw Article 3 and Chapter 7 of the 1992 Constitution to the dogs and go ahead with a contest for the NDC and the NPP.
He explained that, making nonsense of such constitutional provisions, “provides and facilitates the ability of incumbent Governments to use the Executive Power and resources of the state in rigging the elections.”
Article 3 (1) states that “Parliament shall have no power to enact a law establishing a one-party state” while 3(2) says “any activity of a person or group of persons which suppresses or seeks to suppress the lawful political activity of any other person or any class of persons, or persons generally is unlawful.”
Chapter 7 of the Constitution clearly states that “Every citizen of Ghana of eighteen years of age or above and of sound mind has the right to vote and is entitled to be registered as a voter for the purposes of public elections and referenda.”
He, therefore, did not think “the Commissioner had no legal authority to invalidate the nomination of an aspiring candidate for president without first giving the candidate the opportunity to alter or amend his or her improperly completed nomination forms.”
The EC, on 10th October, disqualified the 13 of 17 candidates who had submitted their nomination forms for not meeting certain provisions of C.I 94, which the Citizen Vigilante agreed, was the product of the complex nomination forms it had designed for the Presidential Elections.
The elimination from the contest compelled some of the aspirants to drag the electoral body to court. Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom’s Progressive People’s Party (PPP), for instance, got the EC’s decision quashed by a high court last Friday.
Justice Eric Kyei Baffour ruled: “I will proceed after quashing the decision of the Respondents disqualifying the Applicant as a candidate and order that the Respondents afford opportunity to the Applicant to make the necessary alteration or amendment to its nomination paper for it to receive same and then proceed to determine whether the Applicant had met all the criteria laid down by the laws of the Republic, in line with its duty laid down in C.I 94.”
Following the ruling which exposed her ignorance, incompetence and inexperience, Mr Martin Amidu was emphatic that the EC boss, Madam Charlotte Osei, should have humbly resigned from her position.
“Instead of rushing to disqualify them contrary to the due process of law (particularly the right to alter or amend as provided by law and natural justice) and gloating on her competence in the unlawful application of C.I. 94 she should have resigned for failing in her functions to educate the aspirants for the complex nomination electoral process and its purpose,” he stated.
Revealing that he had never in his long years of experience in the public service witnessed the degree of arrogance and impunity towards Ghanaians, the former Attorney General said the court “decision in Ex Parte Papa Kwesi Nduom exposes her high handiness, incompetence, and inexperience as a public officer.”
” It also does no credit to whatever agenda the appointing authority which is also contesting this presidential election had in mind in patronizing her to the important and critical office of impartiality as Electoral Commissioner under the Constitution,” he added.
What even broke the camel’s back, in the eyes of Mr. Amidu, was the report made by the EC to the police.
He stressed: “Without waiting for the aspiring candidates to exhaust their constitutional rights to challenge her arbitrary decisions and determinations, she arrogantly proceeded to refer the aspiring candidates to the police for investigation for the commission of various offences alleged by her in her statement of reasons for disqualifying them.”
And the process, per his assessment, was a scheme designed to intimidate the aspiring candidates and frighten them with the police powers of the Executive from vindicating their rights before the Courts.
“It should be everybody’s guess how she managed to recruit the Ghana Police Service which is currently under the control and direction of the partisan NDC Government to foster her agenda of harassing and intimidating these innocent citizens into accepting her unlawful decisions disqualifying them,” he touted.