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Samoa Addo to Chief Justice: Fast track resolution of parliamentary election disputes

Legal practitioner and a member of the NDC, Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo, calls on the Chief Justice to introduce mechanism for expedited trial in parliamentary election disputes

Private legal practitioner, Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo, is advocating for the speedy resolution of disputes surrounding parliamentary elections across the country in the 7 December 2020 polls.

The legal practitioner said how the petitions are being handled currently leaves room for abuse and exploitation by various parties.

Speaking on The Forum, a current affairs and news analysis programme on Asaase Radio with Dr Kwaku Agyeman Budu, Addo said it should be possible to introduce a system to fast track resolution of the outstanding cases in three months.

“I think the Chief Justice has to do something at the speed at which the cases in respect of parliamentary election are dealt with. If it is going to be affidavit evidence, it should be affidavit evidence just as they did for the 2020 Election petition. Clearly if I am dealing with the case of the one that is elected I am going to delay the case till thy kingdom come.

“So, I plead with the Chief Justice, it is not too late, if it means sitting day-to-day, let the courts sit day-to-day, let the parties be moved to the region, the days are given it is a day-to-day hearing, clear out all issues. If we need a standing three-member court of appeal panel to sit on review issues, they are there,” he proposed.

Unnecessary delays

According to him, if the process of handling the various post parliamentary election petitions is not reviewed, it may delay the ruling unnecessarily.

“So, we can have clarity, you give the deadline to the judges, give a decision between two to three months the parties know, because you know we have about or nine petitions scattered across the country, if you are not careful all these decisions may end up being delivered in 2024. So I don’t think it is helpful how petitions with respect to parliamentary elections are handled,” Addo said.

Areas under contention

So far, 16 parliamentary election petitions have been filed at various High courts — eight against elected NPP MPs and eight against NDC MPs.

The NDC constituencies in dispute are Buem, Kintampo North, Savelugu, Pusiga, Jomoro, Assin North, Banda and Krachi West.

With regard to the NPP, the seats in contention are Techiman South, ano South, Tarkwa Nsuaem, Essikado Ketan, Tema West, Zabzugu and Sefwi Wiawso.

Twelve of the petitions — Techiman South, Savelugu, Pusiga, Banda, Jomoro, Krachi West, Tano South, Tarkwa Nsuaem, Essikado Ketan, Tema West, Zabzugu and Sefwi Wiawso — are on alleged electoral malpractices.

Click to watch the full show here

Fred Dzakpata

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