Dr Kwaku Agyeman-Budu, head of Law Centres at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), has refuted claims that the Supreme Court failed to proffer electoral reforms in the Election 2020 petition judgment.
Speaking in an interview with Kojo Mensah on The Asaase Breakfast Show on Friday, Agyeman-Budu said the substance of the case did not warrant for such recommendations from the apex court.
“The Electoral Commission is an independent body and is entitled to engage in any reform that they themselves believe that may be necessary and obviously this petition in 2013 actually helped the landscape in terms of our electoral reforms and our democracy generally even though the pink sheet is still somewhat complicated, it is less complicated than it was in 2012/2013.
“So, it is a good thing that reforms may be suggested for the Electoral Commission but the fact that the judgement in this particular case, the justices did not necessarily prescribe or suggest any reforms does not mean that the election was without problems” Dr Agyeman-Budu noted.
He added: “The issues before the court was that the petition was alleging specific things including vote padding which the court acknowledged.”
Dr Agyeman-Budu also stressed that it is disingenuous for a section of the public to conclude that the court aided EC chairperson Jean Mensa to evade cross-examination.
He said: “But the critical thing was that the petitioner was not able to establish that there was vote padding, and once again it goes back to the point that there are forums where you seek specific redress.
“When you got to a court of law you are seeking specific reliefs in relation with specific problems that you have with somebody. It is not necessarily the forum where you are going to hold someone accountable and I think that is the misconception that has been out there that the EC was not held to account in the sense that Jean Mensa was held to account or was aided to evade public scrutiny. I think it is a bit disingenuous,” the constitutional lawyer explained.
However, a senior political science lecturer at the University of Ghana Prof Ransford Gyampo believes the apex court should have still prescribed some reforms to help shape the electoral process.
“I believe that regardless of whatever is brought before you, there are other auxiliary issues that disturb our democracy and electoral process and you are able to make pronouncement on it, why not? You should seize the opportunity… So my point was why won’t there be certain pronouncements on some of these things,” Gyampo stated.