The Electoral Commission has told Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, flagbearer of the National Democratic Party (NDP) in plain words that, it cannot rescind its decision to disqualify her.
In a letter to the Electoral Commission through her solicitors, Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa & Ankomah, the NDP flagbearer stated that the electoral body had no power to disqualify her and, therefore, gave it a 24 hour ultimatum to rescind decision else she would proceed to court.
Responding to this threat in an official communication, The EC explained that it did due diligence in arriving at the decision to disqualify her (Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings) and, therefore, instead of fighting against the EC, she should rather support the electoral body in its efforts to deliver free, fair and credible elections for the benefit of all Ghanaians.
“Having taken that decision as required by regulation 9 (4) of C.I. 94, which spells out the procedure for dealing with the matter, our client finds no legal basis to rescind its decision, especially that the statutory provisions upon which your letter is grounded do not allow our client such discretion.
“We do not doubt your clients’ resolve to pursue their cause to the end, as afforded them by law, but we trust that your clients will, as dutiful citizens of the Republic of Ghana, support our client’s constitutional mandate and efforts to deliver free, fair and credible elections. The smooth sailing process of our democratic evolution should be our mutual concern as well as primary and collective responsibility”, EC’s lawyers wrote.
On Wednesday, Nana Konadu fired a four-page letter through her solicitors, Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa&Ankomah that her party is convinced that the electoral body did not obey the laws regarding the registration process and therefore has acted illegally and unreasonably.
According to the letter, the EC has no power to disqualify the party’s flagbearer because: “Although section 27 of the Representation of the People Act, 1992 (PNDCL 284) provides that before a person who registers twice may be disqualified from voting, there must have been a conviction for the offence and then a term of imprisonment imposed before a disqualification can take effect”, the letter explained.
The PNDC law 284, section 27 states “A person who… having applied to have that person’s name included in a divisional register, without withdrawing the application, applies to have the name included in another divisional register… commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding five hundred penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years, or both the fine and imprisonment, and is disqualified for a period of five years from the date of the expiration of the term of imprisonment, from being registered as a voter or voting at an election.”
The letter said from the ongoing, one cannot be disqualified without it being preceded or run concurrently with a trial, conviction and imprisonment for an offence.
Konadu quoted section 43 of the PNDC law 284 (1) which states: “The Commission shall keep a record of persons who by the operation of section 27, 28, 29 and 41 are disqualified from being registered as voters, voting at an election or becoming members of Parliament.
But the EC in a letter sent to the NDP leader said the rules regulating the submission of nomination papers for the purposes of contesting the presidential elections confirmed that the submission of nomination forms does not result in the automatic acceptance of the forms.
The electoral body quoted the Public Elections Regulations, 2016 (C.I. 94), Regulation 9 (1) of C.I. 94, which states that: “Whenever the nomination paper and the statutory declaration of a candidate are delivered and the deposit is paid in accordance with these Regulations, the candidate shall be considered to stand nominated, unless proof is given to the satisfaction of the Returning Officer of the candidate’s death, withdrawal or disqualification”.
The EC continued that in the circumstance where it is impossible to make the necessary amendments for the purpose of ensuring that a candidate’s nomination complies with the law, the effect is that the candidate’s nomination forms does not comply with the requirements of the law regulating their nomination, resulting in non-compliance under regulations 9 (3) of C.I. 94.
“Our client’s instructions to us are that in the particular case of your clients, upon presentation of the nomination papers, they were given the opportunity prescribed by regulation 9 (2) of the C.I. 94 to make the necessary amendments and alterations to correct those errors, which the Returning Officer was capable of detecting without further checks and your clients accordingly effected the appropriate amendments or alterations”, the EC’s counsel argued in the letter.
With regards to the non-compliance of the errors in which the Charlotte Osei outfit said it could not accept Nana Konadu’s nomination, the EC said it was impossible for it to comply, especially because the NDP presented its nomination papers a day to the expiry of the nomination period.
The EC continued that it duly followed the process, which was prescribed by the C.I. 94 and that it acted in accordance with the due process.