SC dismisses application against appointment of EC chair

The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday dismissed an interlocutory injunction application seeking to stop President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo from appointing a new chairperson for the Electoral Commission (EC).

In a unanimous decision, a seven-member panel of the SC presided over by Justice Julius Ansah, ruled that the application was irrelevant.

Other members of the panel were Justices Jones Doste, Anin Yeboah, Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, Sule Gbadegbe, Vida Akoto Bamfo and Yaw Appau.

The SC said it had powers to annul the appointment of Executive Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa, who has been nominated by the President, if the substantive case succeeded.

The SC held that the powers were grounded in Article 2(2) of the 1992 Constitution.

Article 2 clause 2 states that: “The Supreme Court shall, for the purposes of a declaration under clause(1) of this article, make such orders and give such directions as it may consider appropriate for giving effect, or enabling effect to be given, to the declaration so made.”

The applicant, Fafali Nyonator, filed the application and argued that the removal of former EC Chairperson, Mrs Charlotte Osei, was unlawful.

According to her, the Chief Justice committee that recommended the removal of Mrs Osei violated the 1992 Constitution.

She, therefore, wanted the court to halt the President from appointing a new EC Chair until the final determination of the substantive case.

The applicant particularly wanted the court to stop the President from going ahead with the process that would confirm the appointment of Mrs Mensa as the new EC Chair.

 

Meanwhile, President Akufo-Addo has nominated Mrs. Mensa as the new Chairperson of the EC.

 

The President also nominated Mr. Samuel Tettey, Director, Electoral Services at the EC and Dr. Eric Asare Bossman, Head of the Department of Political Science at the University of Ghana, Legon, as deputy commissioners

 

Following the retirement of a senior member of the commission, Mrs. Paulina Dadzewa on April 30, 2018, the President has nominated Ms. Adwoa Asare Bossman, a corporate legal practitioner, to the membership of the EC.

 

President Akufo-Addo has, by a letter dated Thursday July 19, 2018, forwarded the names of nominees to the Council of State for consideration and advice.

 

This in accordance with Article 70 (2) of the 1992 Constitution, which stipulates that “the President shall, acting on the advice of the Council of State, appoint the Chairman, deputy chairmen  and other members of the Electoral Commission.”

 

The Council of State is expected to present their advice on the nominees to the President for the appointments to be finalised.

 

The nominations follow the removal from office, on June 28, of Mrs. Osei, and the two deputies, Mr. Amadu Sulley, and Mrs. Georgina Opoku Amankwah, by President Akufo-Addo.

 

This was after a committee established by the Chief Justice, Justice Sophia Akuffo, to investigate petitions brought against them, recommended their removal for misconduct.

 

Mrs. Mensa, according to the IEA’s website, has carved a niche for herself in the field of policy research and advocacy as well as in the development of policy alternatives, including the Presidential Transition Act of 2012; the Revised 1992 Constitution of Ghana (draft); the Political Parties Funding Bill and the Revised Political Parties Bill.

 

Mrs. Mensa was a tireless advocate for the review of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution, and served as a commissioner of the government-established Constitution Review Commission.

 

She is currently a member of the government committee tasked with preparing the Affirmative Action Bill.

BY MALIK SULLEMANA

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