EC boss needs Afari Gyan’s help – Hassan Ayariga

Mrs Charlotte Osei, Chair of the Electoral Commission needs the assistance and experience of her predecessor Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan to help her conduct the 2016 general elections, flag bearer of the All People’s Congress (APC), Mr Hassan Ayariga has said.

“The lady [Charlotte Osei] needs Afari Gyan to come onboard. … I think Afari Gyan must come in. I think they need him. We must all admit at a point in time that we make mistakes but this is a huge one,” Mr Ayariga told Naa Dedei Tettey on 12Live on Monday, 7 November shortly after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Progressive People’s Party’s flag bearer Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom in a case between the two parties.

“They need the assistance of Dr Afari Gyan … so that we can have peaceful, credible, fair elections…” “I think there will be a lot of challenges [if Afari Gyan doesn’t step in to help]. Experience matters a lot in this,” Mr Ayariga said, adding that Ghanaians do not want to go to court again after the 2016 elections to challenge the results like happened after the 2012 elections.

Mr Ayariga also said the EC “lacks experience. … This is what we are now experiencing. … They have a problem of decision-making, so, how credible are you? … Decision-making determines competence, so, if you have serious issues with decision-making, then how competent are you …?”

A 7-member Supreme Court panel presided over by Justice Sophia Adinyira by unanimous decision, on Monday upheld a High Court ruling ordering the Electoral Commission to allow disqualified flag bearer of the Progressive People’s Party, Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, to get back into the presidential race.

The apex court also ordered the EC to extend the nomination period for flag bearers to Tuesday, 8 November. It also directed the EC to give all parties a fair hearing to make the necessary corrections on their nomination forms.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has also ordered all High Courts to suspend any case before them in connection with the disqualification of other flag bearers.

The EC resorted to the Supreme Court via a certiorari application to seek finality to the plethora of court cases filed against it by some of the 13 presidential nominees it disqualified over certain filing anomalies.

Prior to the certiorari application, the EC said in a statement after the High Court ruling that it had “completed a review of the judgment of the High Court, Accra dated 28th October, 2016 in the case of the Republic v Mrs. Charlotte Osei & Electoral Commission; Ex parte Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, numbered GT1401/2016. Having carefully studied the contents of the judgment, we respectfully disagree with the High Court judge’s decision on several essential legal and public policy grounds.”

“The Commission is of the firm conviction backed by the law, that candidates seeking the highest office of the land, must take full responsibility for ensuring that their nomination forms meet the standard in form and substance, required by the law. The Commission is further of the view that falsified signatures on nomination forms constitute a matter for criminal investigation and are not mere anomalies or clerical errors, which should be pointed out to candidates for corrections to be effected.

“The Commission believes that as in other jurisdictions, presidential candidates must ensure the accuracy of the information on documents which they present under oath to public institutions. Failure to place this burden on the shoulders of the candidates has serious implications for our democratic growth and electoral justice. 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 seek clarity on the relevant aspects of the law on candidate nominations. We believe it is in the overall national 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. In the interest of national peace and cohesion, we respectfully implore the Highest Court of the land to determine our application expeditiously in accordance with the earlier directive of Her Ladyship the Chief Justice so that the electoral calendar is saved,” the statement said.

Last week, another disqualified flag bearer, Mr Hassan Ayariga of the All People’s Congress (APC) also had a favourable ruling from the High Court against the EC. The court ordered the EC to have him correct the mistakes he made on the nomination forms for which he was also disqualified. Also, flag bearers of the Independent People’s Party (IPP), National Democratic Party (NDP) and the People’s National Convention (PNC) are also battling the EC on court over their disqualification.

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