Home » Former EC Chairman Calls for Sanctions on Frivolous Election Petitions

Former EC Chairman Calls for Sanctions on Frivolous Election Petitions

Dr. Afari-Gyan Advocates for Stricter Measures Against Baseless Legal Challenges in Elections

by Adenike Adeodun

In a groundbreaking public lecture in Accra, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, the former Chairman of Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC), proposed punitive measures for unsuccessful election petitions. This bold suggestion aims to curb what he describes as a growing trend of ‘wanton’ legal challenges in the electoral process.

According to a report by Graphic Online, Dr Afari-Gyan expressed concerns during the Constitution Day event at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), co-hosted with the One Ghana Movement. He noted that frivolous petitions, often filed to satisfy political financiers and supporters, not only undermine the EC’s credibility but also exert undue pressure on the judiciary.

Citing Nigeria’s overwhelming 1,000 post-election petitions in 2023, Dr. Afari-Gyan underscored the urgency of addressing this issue. He emphasized the need for continuous judicial education on electoral matters to enhance electoral justice and, consequently, strengthen democracy.

In his compelling talk, Dr. Afari-Gyan reminded attendees, including former Attorney-Generals and a former CHRAJ Commissioner, of the crucial role free and fair elections play in a healthy democracy. He argued that everyone, regardless of societal position, should support the EC’s efforts in conducting impartial elections.

Furthermore, Dr Afari-Gyan acknowledged that while mistakes are inevitable in elections, there must be a robust system to identify and rectify genuine errors and penalize intentional misconduct.

The discussion also touched on the representation of people in Parliament. Dr. Afari-Gyan called for the avoidance of prolonged disenfranchisement of significant voter groups, as this contradicts the essence of representative governance.

Additionally, Mrs. Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, former Attorney-General, pointed to the declining public trust in the EC, as indicated by Afrobarometer reports. She urged the EC to adhere strictly to principles of accountability and to manage upcoming elections without errors.

Former Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Joe Ghartey, highlighted the success of the 1992 Constitution in Ghana’s governance. He suggested that candidates who knowingly pursue baseless legal actions should face fines and temporary disqualification from public office.

This lecture marks a significant step towards reinforcing the integrity of Ghana’s electoral process and judiciary.

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