Supreme Court upholds Ayawaso-West Wuogon by-election

The Supreme Court has thrown out a suit challenging the constitutionality of the Ayawaso West –Wuogon by-election held on January 31, 2019.

In a unanimous decision yesterday, a seven-member panel of the court held that the issues raised in the suit rendered the case dead on arrival, and therefore, there was no need for the court to even rule on the constitutionality of the by-election.

“It is pointless to determine the constitutionality of the by-election and, therefore, the suit is accordingly dismissed,” the court held.

The judgement was read by Justice Gabriel Pwamang, while the panel was presided over by Justice Julius Ansah.

Other members on the panel were Justices Jones Dotse, Anin Yeboah, Samuel K Marful-Sau, Agnes Dordzie, Nene A. O. Amegatcher and Professor Emmanuel Nii Ashie Kotey

Plaintiff’s case

On January 13, 2019, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Constituency Chairman of Ayawaso West-Wuogon, Bismark Aborbi –Ayitey, went to the apex court with a case that the decision of the Electoral Commission (EC) to hold election on January 31, 2019 was unconstitutional.

Joined to the writ as defendants were the Attorney-General (A-G) and the EC.

According to the plaintiff, per Article 112 (5) of the 1992 Constitution, a by-election was supposed to be held 60 days after a seat had been declared vacant.

It was his contention that following the death of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Ayawaso West Wuogon, Parliament formally declared the seat vacant and informed the EC on November 26, 2018.

In view of that, he argued that the by-election was supposed to be held before or on January 26, 2019 and not on January 31.

Supreme Court’s reasons

Delivering the judgement, Justice Pwamang said the plaintiff did not ask for an interim injunction to stop the by-election, neither did he pray for the nullification of the by-election held on January 31, 2019 in the event that the court ruled in his favour.

The plaintiff, he said, indicated to the court that he did not want a nullification of the by-election, but rather he knew the EC would breach Article 112 (5) in the future, and, therefore, he wanted the court to stop such a situation.

Justice Pwamang held that since the plaintiff could not show any proof that the EC would breach Article 112 (5) in the future, the case was moot from its inception.


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