The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) Charlotte Osei should have resigned over the errors made by some presidential aspirants in filing their nomination forms, a former Attorney General, Martin Amidu, has said.
In a statement, Mr Amidu said the EC should be held accountable for the errors made on the nomination forms as she failed to educate the aspirants on the process involved.
“Instead of rushing to disqualify them [the aspirants] 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.”
“It is demonstrable failure and an indictment on the competence of the Commissioner that only 4 of her class of 17 political parties and independent aspiring presidential candidates were able to understand and complete the nomination forms without error and to submit them at her own appointed time of 29th and 30th September 2016,” Amidu’s statement said.
The EC Chair disqualified 13 candidates including Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive People’s Party, Edward Mahama of the People’s National Convention and Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings of the National Democratic Party (NDP) over errors in the nomination forms they filed.
But an Accra High Court on Friday ordered the EC to allow Dr Nduom of the PPP to amend the errors on his forms and resubmit them for consideration by the EC.
Mr Amidu said the ruling came as no surprise to him as the EC had no ‘legal authority’ to nullify the aspirants’ nominations.
“A casual reading of the reasons provided by the Commissioner in that document leaves an ordinary reasonable person with the conclusion that the decision to disqualify each of the presidential candidates was premised upon an alleged non-compliance with regulation 7 of the Public Elections Regulation, 2016 (C.I. 94). One walks away with the cogent and credible impression that the Commissioner purportedly acted in pursuance of an alleged power of disqualification vested in her under regulation 9(2) and (3) of C.I. 94.
“But even a fleeting perusal of regulation 9 of C.I. 94 should have left any lazy reader with a firm conviction that 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.
“Unfortunately, the common sense objections of the various aspiring candidates to their disqualification in violation of regulation 9(2) of C.I. 94 were met with insolent language bordering on insults and impunity demonstrating the perceived omnipotence and infallibility of the Commissioner in making her decisions.”
The NDP and PNC are still challenging their disqualification in court.