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'Supreme Court cannot dictate how EC boss is appointed'

constitutionalism

Photo Reporting'Supreme Court cannot dictate how EC boss is appointed'

03 July 2015

The Supreme Court of Ghana cannot tell the President of the Republic how to appoint the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice has argued.

 

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The argument is contained in a lengthy response from the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to Richard Sky’s lawsuit over how the President’s power is exercised in appointing persons to serve on the EC.

“…the decision on who to appoint as …. Chairman of the EC is essentially a political decision” the Attorney General argues, adding that the Supreme Court “cannot determine how the President takes that decision.”

The AG therefore wants the Supreme Court to desist from wading into what she believes is an ongoing constitutional debate. “It is not the duty of this court to descend into the arena of public discussion to resolve issues pertaining to the correctness or otherwise of various arguments”, she posited.

The AG further argued that “Such debates, though healthy in a constitutional democracy; the court may end up soiling its own reputation as a neutral arbiter of actual constitutional controversies”.

The Attorney General has thus asked the Supreme Court to “dismiss” the landmark suit filed by the Accra-based Journalist who wants the apex court of the land to clarify the constitutional provisions on the appointment of the head of the EC.

In a swift move however, Mr. Sky’s lawyer, Alex Afenyo-Markin, has filed a response on points of law, in which he argued that the Attorney General got it all wrong on her interpretation of the relevant Constitutional provisions.

Mr Afenyo-Markin described the AG’s stance on the matter as “a rather myopic approach to the import of article 2(1) and 130 of the 1992 constitution.”

According to lawyer Afenyo-Markin, Article 2(1) enables any citizen to seek interpretation at the highest court of the land.

He also believes that the Supreme Court has the exclusive jurisdiction to interpret all provisions of the constitution which are ambiguous. “The matter before you my lords borders on constitutional interpretation of articles 70(2), 91(3) and 91(4) of the 1992 constitution and Same is within the jurisdiction of this honorable court,” he prayed.

He further stated that the matter before the court “…will not be an exercise in futility and by entertaining and determining this constitutional matter” the court “… will not descend into the arena of public debate but will hold true the aspirations of the Ghanaian People and the rule of law.”

Picking on the argument of the AG, that the council of state’s advice is “merely to serve as a restraint on improper appointments by the president”, Mr. Afenyo-Markin insist that the position of the Attorney General is a curious one, he queried that “if indeed as conceded by the defendant, the council of state’s advice is to restrain the President on improper appointment, then how can she in another breadth insist that such advice is not binding on the President?’’

Lawyer Afenyo-Markin concluded his response by stating that “the framers of the constitution did not choose the wording of the provisions of the constitution randomly. It was chosen carefully to give full meaning to its objects and purpose. Where the constitution intends to vest absolute power in the executive, a person or an institution in the performance of its functions, same has been expressly stated or provided for”.

The apex court of the land has however set July 14, 2015 for hearing on the matter.

Source: Citifmonline.com





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