In the case of Nii Armah Ashietey v NDC & Zanetor Agyeman Rawlings, the Plaintiff has argued that based on article 43(9)(a) of the NDC Constitution and sections B & C of the Guidelines for the 2015 NDC Primaries, Zanetor Agyeman Rawlings should have been a registered voter to qualify her to run for the 2015 NDC Primaries.
There is no doubt in anybody’s mind that Zanetor was NOT a registered voter before the November 21, 2015, NDC Primaries, since she registered during the limited registration exercise on April 28, 2016, and brandished her newly acquired voters’ ID card for all to see.
So why is the case of interpretation of the article 94(1) of the 1992 Constitution currently before the Supreme Court?
• Some say it was to buy time for Zanetor to register during the limited registration exercise.
• Others say it was to delay the process for the NDC Party to find a way to settle the matter.
• Others also say it was to move the case from the High Court whose judge proved too tough and disciplined for the 2nd defendant and her lawyers.
Point 1 has been achieved. Zanetor has managed to register as a voter in this country and has brandished her new voter’s card with gusto. Bravo Zanetor for finally becoming a registered voter!
Point 2 has not been achieved. No one can say truthfully say that the Party made an effort to solve this matter.
A first attempt at an outreach meeting was called off because Zanetor and her followers had put up their banners at the venue and refused to remove them. Even more interesting is the fact that the incumbent Nii Armah Ashietey was not invited to the forum. The second attempt at an outreach meeting is reported to have been very heated against the NDC and Zanetor, and it is said that the followers of Ashietey refused to be frightened into submission even when macho men from Kokomba Market and Nima were bused to the premises to ‘deal’ with them.
Point 3 has perhaps been achieved. That is, if the Supreme Court does not move the case back to the High Court for judgment, which is really what is expected. Legal luminaries say that if a case for interpretation is sent from the High Court to the Supreme Court for interpretation, it is standard practice for the Supreme Court to interpret the provision in question if they think it is essential for the conduct of the case, and to send the matter back to the High Court to conclude sitting on the case.
It is therefore expected that –
• The Supreme Court will first determine whether an interpretation of article 94(1) of the 1992 Constitution is essential to the conduct of the case of Nii Armah Ashietey v NDC & Zanetor Rawlings or whether article 94(1) is ambiguous in anyway necessitating such an interpretation.
• If the Supreme Court thinks it is essential or it is ambiguous, it will interpret the provision and send the interpretation down to the High Court to aid the High Court in continuing and concluding the case.
• If the Supreme Court thinks the provision it is NOT essential and/or NOT ambiguous, it will indicate that the interpretation is not essential to the conduct of the case or that the article in question is not ambiguous necessitating an interpretation. It will then return the matter to the High Court to be continued and concluded upon.
Whichever route the Supreme Court chooses, legal pundits have said that it is time to give praise where praise is due. When a judge defies all odds and sticks to the application of law in its purest form, without fear or favour, he must be celebrated. Justice Ackaah Boafo of the High Court must be celebrated!!!
There is one thing all parties and lawyers to the case have in common – the opinion that Justice Ackaah Boafo is a very fine judge. Indeed, one of the finest High Court Judges of recent times.
All the political and legal gymnastics going on by Zanetor Agyeman Rawlings and her lawyers cannot and should not eclipse the fact that we have found a treasure in the judiciary. In his court, we have consistently witnessed
• well-reasoned judgments
• excellent legal and factual analysis
• fearless and unbiased application of the law.
Justice Ackaah Boafo – Ghana is proud of you!!!