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Ghana's electoral body challenges reinstatement of disqualified aspirant

Ghana's electoral body challenges reinstatement of disqualified aspirant

Ghana

Ghana has barely a month to hotly contested polls scheduled for December 7, 2016. Political players are however concerned about whether or not the polls will hold.

Their concerns stem from the number of litigations brought against the Electoral Commission (EC). On Monday evening however it was the commission that filed a challenge to the Supreme Court seeking clarifications on the ruling of a High Court.

An Accra High Court last week ordered the EC to reinstate a presidential aspirant they disqualified on the basis of errors while filing nomination forms. A two-time presidential aspirant, Papa Kwesi Ndoum was one of 13 others who were disqualified for various offences during the filing of their nomination papers.

“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 his nomination paper,” Judge Eric K. Baffour ruled.

But the EC in a statement released on Monday evening said it disagreed with the judge and had applied for clarification from the Supreme Court as a matter of public policy and in the interest of electoral credibility.

‘‘In the interest of public policy and the credibility of the electoral process, the Commission has today filed an application at the Supreme Court to quash the High Court decision and to seek clarity on the relevant aspects of the law on candidate nominations.

‘‘We believe it is in the overall interest and on the grounds of public policy that the Supreme Court provides clarity on this matter. A judgment from the Apex Court would effectively bring finality to the issue once and for all,’‘ the statement said.

Even though the known date of the polls is 7 December, the commission has said it would await the outcome of the court cases before making an announcement. They have balloted for positions for parliamentary aspirants but have yet to do so for the presidential because of the pending court cases.

As it stands now, for the presidential contest, the incumbent John Mahama, who is the flag-bearer of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), will come up against his main contender, Nana Akufo-Addo of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The other two contenders are Ivor Kwabena Greenstreet of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) – party of Ghana’s founding father Dr Kwame Nkrumah and Jacob Osei Yeboah, an independent candidate.

Ghana’s Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood, had nominated 17 high courts judges across the country to deal promptly with the electoral disputes.

Many Ghanaians fear the lawsuits could delay the elections.

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