In respect of the 1992 Republican Constitution and in upholding Chapter One, Article 1, 2 & 3 (Supremacy of the Constitution; Enforcement of the Constitution & Defence of the Constitution) I seek to find answer(s) to some issues, very important to our democracy and governance as a nation and as a people: ‘is the supreme court becoming too powerful in Ghana’?
The Supreme Court is a creature of the Constitution under Chapter 11 of the 1992 Republican Constitution of Ghana, and Article 128 deals with its establishment and composition; its jurisdiction and function is stated subsequently and explicitly in Articles 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134 & 135.
It is therefore worthy to note that the Constitution is NOT the creation of the Supreme Court, but rather the Supreme Court is created by the Constitution, hence every act of the Supreme Court must be in-line and in total respect and compliance of the 1992 Republican Constitution. The attempt to ‘show people that they yield the power of the State’ is at variance with equal rights given to all of us under the Same Constitution they are to INTERPRET.
ORDERS BY THE SC TO THE EC
In a case brought before it, the Supreme Court recently made an order to the Electoral Commission to submit in writing to them the full list of persons who used National Health Insurance Scheme cards as proof of citizenship to get their names onto the voters’ register.
They further ordered the commission to set out in clear terms, the steps or modalities it intends to employ to ensure “full compliance with the court’s order it made on 5th May, 2016, where the commission was ordered to ‘take steps immediately to delete and clean the current register of voters to comply with the provisions of the 1992 Constitution and applicable laws of Ghana,’ and also afford such affected persons the opportunity to re-register.”
The Supreme Court says the orders they have given should be complied with on or before June 29, 2016 by the Electoral Commission.
Yes, I respect and recognize per the Constitution that the Supreme Court is the forum of last resort for justice, but the notion that the Supreme Court is the highest court of the land and therefore must be regarded as the storehouse of a residual jurisdiction to do justice to the extent of trying to impose themselves as ‘headmasters’ over the Electoral Commission is bad, worrying, dangerous, unconstitutional, and must be resisted by all well-meaning Ghanaians.
The Electoral Commission’s work cannot and must be allowed to be interfered with as against the provisions in our Constitution.
THE EC, ITS FUNCTIONS AND POWERS
The Electoral Commission is also a creation of the 1992 Constitution under Chapter 7, Article 43; with Article 45 spelling out its functions clearly; and Article 46 stating its independence: and therefore the EC draws all its powers from the Constitution.
For the purposes of education let me state the functions of the Electoral Commission under Article 45; and Article 46.
(a) To compile the register of voters and revise it at such periods as may be determined by law;
(b) To demarcate the electoral boundaries for both national and local government elections;
(c) To conduct and supervise all public elections and referenda;
(a) The guarantee of a fair and realistic remuneration for production and productivity in order to encourage continued production and higher productivity;
(d) To educate the people on the electoral process and its purpose;
(e) To undertake programmes for the expansion of the registration of voters; and
(f) To perform such other functions as may be prescribed by law.
Article 46 states that “EXCEPT as provided in this Constitution or in any other law NOT INCONSISTENT WITH THIS CONSTITUTION in the performance of its functions, the Electoral Commission, SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO THE DIRECTION OR CONTROL OF ANY PERSON OR AUTHORITY”.
THE SUPREME COURT IS SETTING A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT IN CONTRAVENTION OF ARICLE 46 OF THE CONSTITUTION
The recent case in which the Supreme Court is subtly trying to control the functions and operations of the Electoral Commission by directing them to produce or provide them a list of some registrants on their voter’s register in an attempt to call for the ‘illegal’ deletion of those names is a very dangerous legal precedence they are setting which is a recipe for chaos and violence in our electoral process.
The Supreme Court as the highest authority in our judicial structure must make frantic efforts to respect the Constitution of Ghana at all times, and be mindful that the Constitution has given the Electoral Commission the powers to resort to processes and modalities strictly on how to organize and conduct ‘free, fair, credible, and transparent’ elections in this country… and so far they have conducted themselves very creditably since 1992.
The recent case in which the SC is asking or directing or ordering the EC to provide it with the list of people who have registered with the NHIS card, is it for the purposes of ‘Amendment’, ‘Execution’, and/or ‘Enforcement’ of their earlier judgment on the matter by application or invocation of Article 129 (4) of the Constitution…
The EC said they were going to resort to the processes of law to comply with the judgment of the Supreme Court in their earlier order to them. Is the EC by trying to respect the Constitution acting of the power conferred on them hence the Supreme Court is invoking Article 130 (b) of the Constitution?
The Supreme Court must not wield and display unnecessary power to intimidate Ghanaians and our institutions that are equally created by law.
The Supreme Court per their posture under the current CJ are on a path that will only draw the nation’s democratic process backwards which is not in the benefit of anybody. They must again be reminded that their actions and utterances are rather what are likely to ‘nose-dive’ the country into chaos.
#Let Us All Endeavor to Uphold and Respect The Constitution of Ghana.
God Bless Our Homeland Ghana.
Amega Sekle’s diary.
Source: Reginald Dogbe