Assin North Petition moves to Supreme Court

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson & Justice Agbenorsi
Mr James Gyakye Quayson, NDC MP for Assin North
Mr James Gyakye Quayson, NDC MP for Assin North

The petition challenging the election of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin North, Mr James Gyakye Quayson, has moved to the Supreme Court for a possible constitutional interpretation.

Mr Quayson is asking the apex court to assume jurisdiction over the petition at the Cape Coast High Court and give an interpretation of Article 94 (2) (a) of the 1992 Constitution which debars a person who is not solely a citizen of the country from contesting as MP.

The eligibility of Mr Quayson to be MP is currently a subject of a parliamentary election petition at the Cape Coast High Court.

The petitioner, Mr Michael Ankomah-Nimfah, a resident of the constituency, contends that the MP was not eligible to be MP on the basis that at the time he (Quayson) filed his nomination to contest as a parliamentary candidate, he was still a citizen of Canada.

Interpretation

With his case at the Supreme Court, the MP is seeking an order of certiorari to quash a decision by the Cape Coast High Court directing the parties to file their written address.

He argues that in line with Article 130 (2) of the 1992 Constitution, the High Court should have rather stayed proceedings and referred the case to the Supreme Court to give an interpretation of Article 94 (2) (a) of the 1992 Constitution.

“That I am advised by my counsel and I verily believe same to be true that the Supreme Court has not yet had the opportunity to interpret Article 94(2) (a) of the 1992 Constitution as regard the material time that a person must not owe allegiance to a country other than Ghana in order for the person to be qualified to stand for election as a Member of Parliament,” the affidavit in support of the application said.

Mr Quayson is praying the Supreme Court to nullify the order from the Cape Coast High Court and assume jurisdiction over the interpretation of Article 94(2) (a) of the 1992 Constitution.

“I verily believe to be true that this Supreme Court has power under Article 129 (4) as well as Article 132 of the Constitution (1992) to make a referral to itself of the constitutional issues arising in the said High Court, since the said court has refused to make same and also to order a stay of its proceedings pending the determination of the constitutional issues referred to,” the MP argues.

Petition

Mr Quayson polled 17,498 votes as against 14,793 by the New Patriotic Party's (NPP's) Ms Abena Durowaa Mensah in the December 7, 2020 parliamentary election.

On December 30, 2020, a resident of Assin North, Mr Michael Ankomah-Nimfah, filed a parliamentary election petition at the Cape Coast High Court challenging the eligibility of Mr Quayson to be a Member of Parliament (MP).

He contended that the MP was not eligible on the basis that at the time he (Quayson) filed his nomination to contest as a parliamentary candidate, he was still a citizen of Canada.

Such an act, he argued, was against the express provision of Article 94 (2) (a) of the 1992 Constitution and Section 9(2) of the Representation of the People Act 1992 (PNDCL 284).

Among other reliefs, the applicant wants the Cape Coast High Court to declare the nomination filed by Mr Quayson “illegal, void and of no legal effect”.

He is also seeking a declaration that the decision by the EC to clear Mr Quayson to contest as a parliamentary candidate was “illegal, void and of no legal effect”.

Again the applicant is also seeking an order restraining Mr Quayson from holding himself out as the MP-elect for Assin North and another order cancelling the parliamentary election that took place in Assin North on December 7, 2020.