The apparent victory by the All People’s Congress’ flagbearer Hassan Ayariga is an affirmation of an earlier ruling in favour of the Progressive People’s Party’s Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom.
That’s the opinion Lawyer Samson Lardy Anyenini proffered hours after a court ruled that the Electoral Commission must give the APC leader the opportunity to correct errors on his nomination forms, errors which formed the basis of his disqualification.
Ayariga was one of 13 flagbearers disqualified by the EC for infractions committed on their nomination forms.In Ayariga’s case a number of subscribers were deemed to have endorsed the nomination forms of the PNC flag bearer Dr Edward Mahama leading to the disqualification of both men.
In the case of the PPP, one of the subscribers Richard Aseda was said to have endorsed in two separate districts, one in the Central Region, the other in Volta Region. The law only allows one person to endorse a candidate in each district.
As for the flag bearer of the NDP, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, one of her subscribers was said to have engaged in multiple registration which rendered him incapable of voting, let alone endorsing a presidential candidate.
All the disqualified candidates, except Akua Donkor were livid about the disqualification and expressed their readiness to go to court to set aside what they believed was a perverse decision by the Returning Officer, Charlotte Osei. Even though they all conceded to making mistakes on the forms, they were convinced the mistakes could not have been basis for their disqualification. At worse, they expected the EC to have given them the opportunity to correct the errors on their forms as stipulated by CI 94, the law governing the 2016 elections.
Five of the disqualified aspirants, Dr Nduom, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, Hassan Ayariga, Dr Edward Mahama Kofi Apaloo have all headed to court in a desperate move to set aside the EC ruling.
Dr Nduom was the first to taste victory when the High Court presided over by Justice Kyei Baffuor ordered the EC to allow the PPP flagbearer to correct the anomalies. But that did not last long enough as the EC proceeded to the Supreme Court to challenge the decision by the High Court.
However on Friday, another high court presided over by Justice Barbara Charway ruled that the EC must allow the APC flagbearer the opportunity to correct the anomalies on his form.
She minced no words in describing the EC’s disqualification of Ayariga as “absurd, unfair and wrongful due to the circumstances including limitedness of 30th nomination day.”
Discussing the ruling on Joy Midday News, Lawyer Samson Lardy Anyenini said Justice Charway’s ruling vindicated the earlier one given in the PPP case.
He said the judge needed to clear the first hurdle, which is the objection raised by the EC in respect of the procedure by which the APC came to the court.
The EC averred the APC ought to have come by a petition and not by a judicial review. But Justice Charway in her ruling said the APC was properly before the court and had every right to come by a judicial review.
Justice Charway further made reference to her colleague’s earlier ruling on the issue of nomination period and said that as far she was concerned the nomination period was meaningful if it allowed or accommodated all processes involving in the filing can be done.
She did not understand why the EC will postpone the receipt of filing fees from September 30 to October 10, a feature which is part of the nomination process, only to return and disqualify candidates with the explanation that they submitted their forms on September 30, too late for any corrections to be made on their forms.
She said if the EC could extend the nomination period just so it could receive the nomination fees, it could as well have given the parties the opportunity to correct their errors within the same period.
Samson Lardy Anyenini largely agreed with the decision by the judge but said the ruling by the Supreme Court on the Nduom case will give finality on the cases pending at the High Court