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NDC accuses court registrar of manipulating process in Assin North case

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The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has accused the court registrar at the Cape Coast High Court, Ustaz Hamza, of manipulating court processes in during the hearing of the case against the lawmaker Joe Gyekye Quayson whose election has been cancelled.

The Court on Wednesday July 28 annulled the 2020 parliamentary election result.

A cost of 10, 000 has been awarded against the Electoral commission and 30 thousand against Joe Gyekye Quayson who until the cancellation of the result was the Assin North MP.

The presiding judge, Justice Kwasi Boakye said Mr. Quayson was “restrained from holding himself out as Member of Parliament-elect for the Assin North constituency within the Central Region of the Republic of Ghana and further presenting himself to be sworn in as Member of Parliament-elect as such until the final determination of the petition.”

One Michael Ankoma-Nimfah, a mason and resident of Assin Bereku filed a petition against over dual citizenship.

But a statement issued by National Communications Officer of the NDC, Sammy Gyamfi said “First and foremost, let me condemn in no uncertain terms, the shameful manipulation of court processes by the Registrar, Ustaz Hamza of the Cape Coast High Court and other judicial officers of the Court that frustrated and prevented the filing of a formal application by lawyers of the Assin North MP this morning, for the trial Court to refer the Constitutional questions that have arisen in the conduct of the case to the Supreme Court for determination before proceeding to give judgement

“It is reprehensible and appalling to say the least, that Judicial officers who are paid by the State and are supposed to exhibit independence, impartiality and professionalism in their work have compromised their integrity and lent themselves as pliant tools for the manipulation of judicial processes in favor of the ruling New Patriotic Party. The day of reckoning and accountability for those unprofessional and partisan judicial officers will surely come. “

Below is the full statement…

SAMMY GYAMFI WRITES ON THE ASSIN NORTH ELECTION PETITION JUDGEMENT BY THE CAPE COAST HIGH COURT:

I have taken notice of a decision by the Cape Coast High Court that has annulled the Assin North Parliamentary Election, held on December 7, 2020.

  1. First and foremost, let me condemn in no uncertain terms, the shameful manipulation of court processes by the Registrar, Ustaz Hamza of the Cape Coast High Court and other judicial officers of the Court that frustrated and prevented the filing of a formal application by lawyers of the Assin North MP this morning, for the trial Court to refer the Consitutional questions that have arisen in the conduct of the case to the Supreme Court for determination before proceeding to give judgement.

It is reprehensible and appalling to say the least, that Judicial officers who are paid by the State and are supposed to exhibit independence, impartiality and professionalism in their work have compromised their integrity and lent themselves as pliant tools for the manipulation of judicial processes in favor of the ruling New Patriotic Party. The day of reckoning and accountability for those unprofessional and partisan judicial officers will surely come.

  1. Let me make the point that the judgment of the trial Court is fraught with many errors of law which have ccasioned a gross miscarriage of justice to the people of Assin North. The decision by the trial judge that Hon. Quayson was not qualified to contest as MP in the December 2020 elections is contrary to section 20(1)(d) of the Representation of People’s Law, PNDC Law 284 and a true a proper interpretation of Article 94(2)(a) of the 1992 Constitution, both of which provides in effect that, a person must be qualified to contest as MP at THE TIME OF HIS ELECTION and at the time of him becoming an MP (that’s at the time of swearing in) respectively.
  2. It is the considered view of the NDC, that Hon. James Quayson was qualified to contest as MP in the December 2020 elections by virtue of the fact that he applied to renounce his Canadian citizenship before he filed his nominations to contest as MP in October 2020. He was actually issued a certificate of renunciation in November 2020 before the Parliamentary Election on December 7, 2020. He was therefore qualified to be MP at the time of his election as required by section 20(1)(d) of PNDC law 284 and at the time of his swearing-in, as prescribed under Arricle 94(2)(a) of the Constitution. The December 2020 Assin North Parliamentary election in question was therefore lawful and valid in our view and we think the trial judge has erred in annulling same.
  3. The claim by the trial judge that the Supreme Court has determined in the “Zanetor case” that a person must be qualified to be an MP at the time of the issuance of the Notice of Poll/opening of nominations by the Electoral Commission and that Hon. Quayson was not qualified to contest as MP because even though he had applied to renounce his Canadian citizenship, he had not been issued with a renunciation certificate as at the time of Nominations in October 2020, is palpably misconceived.

This is because the Zanetor case bordered Article 94(1) of the 1992 Constitution relative to the requirement for a person to be a Registered Voter before he can become an MP. The Assin North case on the other hand borders on Article 94(2)(a) of the Constitution which provides that a person shall not be qualified to be a Member of Parliament, “if he owes Allegiance to any country other than Ghana”. We therefore hold the view, that the two cases are materially distinguishable.

  1. Note that Section 20(1)(d) PNDC law 284, provides clearly that a person must be qualified to contest as MP at the time of the election relative to the issue of allegiance to a country other than Ghana. Also, note that Article 94(2)(a) was not interpreted by the Supreme Court in the Zanetor case which is the ratio the trial Judge appears to have applied in the Assin North case.
  2. More importantly, the whole Assin North Election Petition borders on the interpretation and enforcement of Article 94(2)(a) of the 1992 Constitution which falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. That Article has never been interpreted by the Supreme Court before. As we speak, an action has been filed by a citizen of Assin North, Mark Nti to invoke the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court for an interpretation of that same provision, Article 94(2)(a) of the 1992 Constitution. The judge should have therefore referred these constitutional questions that to the Supreme Court for determination as he is enjoined to do by law.
  3. It is instructive to note, that when Hon Quayson filed his nominations in October 2020, some NPP people within the Assin North constituency petitioned the District Office of the Electoral Commission for him to be disqualified on grounds that he is a citizen of, and owes Allegiance to Canada. The District EC officer then referred the matter to the Headquarters of the EC for determination. The EC demanded that Hon. Quayson provides or adduces his certificate of renunciation of his Canadian Citizenship which he did. It was on this basis that the petition was dismissed and Hon. Quayson cleared to contest.
  4. Let me put on record that the NDC is not afraid of any by-election. We are confident of victory in any by-Election if we get to that stage. All we want is for justice to be done. And we will stop at nothing to ensure that justice is done.
  5. Our lawyers will apply for a Stay of Execution of the orders of the trial judge and Appeal the flawed judgment ASAP. This travesty of justice will not be allowed to stand.
  6. The NDC is also determined to formally petition the Judicial Service for disciplinary action to be taken against the Registrar and other Judicial Officers of the Cape Coast High Court who engaged in those shameful gymnastics earlier this morning. Such partisan and unscrupulous persons are not fit to serve in that respectable independent arm of government.

Journalist and science writer for NewsAfrica24, the Atlantic, New Scientist, Aeon, Men’s Health, and many others. Author of The Intelligence Mafias, published by Stoughton (UK)/WW Norton (USA) and translated into six languages.

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Ignore twisted interpretation of ‘do or die’ comment – Ashanti chief to Mahama

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The Krontihene of Ejura Sekyedumase, Nana Agyapa II, has expressed surprise about the deliberate twisting of an idiom used by former President John Dramani Mahama to demonstrate the commitment of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to plug any loopholes that contributed to the party’s inability to win the 2020 general elections.

According to the NDC 2020 Presidential Candidate, the party considers the 2024 election very critical and will be a ‘Do or Die’ affair, urging party operatives to remember that they can only win the election at the level of the polling stations.

In his remarks to welcome the former President and his entourage to the palace of the Frantehene ahead of his tour of the Ashanti Region, the Krontihene expressed his misgivings over the deliberate attempt to twist what Mr. Mahama said.

“These days even when you speak well some misconstrue it. It is unfortunate because the former President is only rallying his supporters that at the next elections the party would be vigilant and not be caught unawares, and that all persons given responsibility should focus and execute their task flawlessly to get their expected results.”

“There is nothing wrong with what he said. But others have deliberately misconstrued his statement. But don’t lose hope, I know that good times are ahead. I am very happy that you have seen that it is not the court you would go to seek redress but that you and your party members will be vigilant and put in the right measures so that your victory is not stolen” he stressed.

Speaking later at a gathering where the leadership of the NDC interacted with victims of a November 21, 2020 accident that involved members of the party from Frante, Frantehene Nana Owusu Sekyere Bobo III commended the former President for the developments he brought to the community during his Presidency.

He recalled that it was President Mahama’s NDC administration that connected 51 communities in the Constituency to the national grid. He also acknowledged Mr. Mahama for coming to the aid of the people and responding to a demand for a school block, among many others.

Nana Frantehene was optimistic that his community can always rely on the NDC if given another chance because of what the community previously benefitted under the party’s administration. He also requested for help to upgrade their clinic to be able to cater for the health need of the people.

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Rev Owusu Bempah reportedly rushed to hospital

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The Founder and Leader of Glorious Word Power Ministries International, Reverend Isaac Owusu Bempah, has been rushed to the Police Hospital in Accra, newsafrica24.com gathers.

The popular man of God was sent to hospital in handcuffs after he fell sick while in police custody.

Rev Owusu Bempah was remanded into police custody on Monday, September 13 after he was denied bail by an Accra Circuit Court presided over by Her Honour Afia Owusuaa Appiah.

He pleaded not guilty to charges levelled against him by the police.

The controversial pastor was picked up on Sunday from his church premises amid stiff resistance from some of the members.

Three of his followers were arrested alongside him and they were also arraigned before court on Monday. Two are on the run.

Their case will be re-called on Monday, September 20.

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Democracy has been beneficial for Ghana and Africa – Akufo-Addo

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“Democracy has been beneficial for the continent and for our country. We know, however, that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and vigilant we shall be here in Ghana. We shall not let our guard down, and allow the clammy embrace of the people by anti-democrats, who are disdainful and incapable of effective popular mobilisation through accepted channels, but who want shortcuts to power without the express support of the people.”

These were the words of the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, when he delivered a speech at the 2021 Ghana Bar Conference, held in Bolgatanga, capital of the Upper East Region, on Monday, 13th September 2021.

Addressing the gathering, President Akufo-Addo data and history have proven, beyond all reasonable doubt, that all aspects of national life have witnessed significant improvements under democratic dispensations, in comparison to periods of military rule.

According to the President, “The 1970s and 1980s, the periods of unbridled authoritarian rule on the continent, were the eras of economic decline, worsening poverty, collapsing infrastructure and insecurity on our continent. GDP per capita in 1970, for example, according to the World Bank, stood at $220”.

He added that the “third wave of democratization” in Africa, beginning in the 1990s, saw GDP per capita rise, substantially, to six hundred and five dollars ($605) in 1995, declined marginally to five hundred and forty-seven dollars ($547) in the year 2000, and, in 2017, increased to one thousand, five hundred and fifty dollars ($1,550).

In Ghana, President Akufo-Addo stated that GDP per capita was three hundred and ninety-eight dollars ($398) in 1990, declined to two hundred and fifty-eight dollars ($258) in 2000, and it is now two thousand, two hundred and twenty-three dollars ($2,223).

Another key index of Human Development, life expectancy at birth, he said, was estimated by the World Bank at forty-five (45) years in 1970 in sub-Saharan Africa.

“By 1990, this had increased to fifty (50) years, and, in 2019, life expectancy at birth on the continent was sixty-one (61) years. In Ghana, it was forty-nine (49) years in 1970, and sixty-four (64) years in 2019. According to data from the World Bank, primary school enrolment in sub-Saharan Africa in 1970 stood at 54%, and had increased to 98.9% in 2019. It was 64% for us in Ghana in 1970, and by 2019, stood at 105% in 2019,” he said.
According to the President, the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy has brought 1.2 million Ghanaian children into the education ecosystem, the highest number of students in secondary school in Ghana’s history, four hundred thousand (400,000) of whom would otherwise have been excluded.

Additionally, he indicated that the National Health Insurance Scheme is operating more adequately, and is enjoying the confidence of the increasing numbers of its users, with the number of active members up from 10.6 million in 2016 to 12.3 million at the end of 2019, stressing that “the goal in sight is to attain Universal Health Coverage for all”.

With next year marking the 30th anniversary of the 1992 Referendum, President Akufo-Addo noted that the Ghanaian people showed through that process their commitment to democratic governance under a Constitution that guarantees the full enjoyment of fundamental human rights and civic liberties.

“The decision has ushered our nation into the longest, uninterrupted period of stable, constitutional democratic governance in her history, which has experienced, under the 4th Republic, three (3) peaceful transfers of power through the ballot box on three (3) separate occasions. The anti-democrats, who are always looking for occasions to sneer at democratic governance, should also bear the following data in mind,” he said.

Bar Conferences, the President explained, became concerned with constitutional rule, freedom of the press, independence of the judiciary and other matters that were of paramount interest to the citizens, who wanted to live under a governance structure that was insulated from authoritarian rule, whether of the one-party Union Government or military variety.

“The Bar joined, wholeheartedly, in the search of the people for democratic governance, where power emanates from the open decision of the ballot box, not from the coercive force of the gun, secretly undertaken behind the backs of the people,” he added. 

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