Defeated NDC Hohoe candidate, 4 others want another parliamentary election
The thrill of having been sworn-in may be short-lived for the Hohoe Member of Parliament John Peter Amewu as he faces a fresh suit barely a week in office.
In a petition filed by the defeated National Democratic Congress Hohoe parliamentary candidate, Margaret Kweku and four others, the petitioners want an injunction restraining Mr Amewu, who was one of the 275 MPs sworn-in on January 7, to stop holding himself as the legislator for the constituency.
Also, the petitioners want the Supreme Court to direct the Electoral Commission to conduct a new parliamentary election for the constituents.
They further urged the apex court to quash the declaration of John Peter Amewu as the MP for Hohoe constituency by Ghana’s electoral body.
The reason, the four other petitioners, who hail from the Santrokofi, Akpafu, Lolobi and Likpe (SALL) was that their communities had every right to vote in the December 7, 2020 elections.
According to the group, the Constitutional Instrument 95 guiding the conduct of the Electoral Commission, has at all times included the SALL traditional areas, which had over 17,000 registered voters.
The petitioners insisted they had been denied their right to vote in the Hohoe constituency after the creation of the Oti Region, which warranted the creation of a new constituency.
“C.I. has, at all material times, been in force and to the extent that it includes the SALL area in the Hohoe constituency, has neither been validly revoked, revised, repealed nor otherwise amended.
“Accordingly, in respect of the parliamentary elections that were held on December 7, the first respondent [Electoral Commission] was required to conduct their functions with due regard for C.I 95.
“The denial of voters entitled to vote in the Hohoe constituency was not only to the detriment of the voters but also a clear detriment to the first petitioner [Margaret Kweku] who paid fees to the first respondent,” the suit said.
However, in earlier argument by the Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, before the Supreme Court, he suggested that the people of SALL should have voted in the Buem constituency.
But the group objected strongly to the assertion.
The petitioners argued that the Electoral Commission simply acted in bad faith.
According to them, it was” an orchestrated plan to short-change the NDC candidate, who had massive support from the SALL traditional areas.”
“The said decision of the first respondent [Electoral Commission], which was implemented in the conduct of the parliamentary election on December 7, was designed to be the benefit of the second respondent [John Peter Amewu] who has his stronghold areas in other areas of the constituency.”
The Genesis of Amewu’s trouble
The people of SALL secured an injunction at the Ho High Court preventing Ghana’s Electoral Commission from gazetting Mr Amewu as the winner of the Hohoe parliamentary polls.
The injunction was granted after some residents of Santrokofi, Akpafu, Likpe, and Lolobi (SALL) argued that the Electoral Commission’s failure to allow them to vote in the just-ended parliamentary elections amounted to a breach of their rights.
According to them, the creation of the Oti Region coupled with a recent Supreme Court decision and failure of the EC to create a constituency for them meant they did not vote for a parliamentary candidate in the just-ended election.
But the state through a Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Dame, filed a motion at the apex court to dismiss injunction.
The Deputy Attorney General jumped to the defence of the commission. It argued that the decision was not legally sound.
Attorney General’s argument
It was the case of the deputy Attorney-General, Godfred Yeboah Dame that the Ho High court erred when it granted the injunction.
Mr. Dame said the case affected the rights of the residents of Hohoe Constituency to have an MP and the composition of the next parliament.
He argued that the High Court in exercising its human rights oversight had no jurisdiction to grant the injunction as the SALL residents did not go through the proper procedure.
According to him, residents of SALL did not belong to the Volta Region where the Hohoe constituency was found and therefore could not challenge the election of the MP.
Mr Dame said the right constituency for the people of SALL to cast their vote was the Buem Constituency in the Oti Region and not the Hohoe Constituency.
He urged the court to strike out the case.
Counsel for the residents, Tsatsu Tsikata, however, disagreed.
He argued that the action by the commission to deny his clients from voting in the parliamentary election in Hohoe was a breach of the fundamental human rights, administrative justice and the right to equality before the law.
With regards to voting in the Buem constituency, Mr Tsikata said it is unconstitutional because the commission had failed to gazette the specific constituency stated.
Court’s documents suggested that the Guan District, out of which the Guan constituency would be created was gazetted in August 2020.
Below is the writ from the petitioners