Gary Nimako Marfo — Director of Legal Affairs, NPP
Gary Nimako Marfo — Director of Legal Affairs, NPP

Quayson’s nullification: NDC should blame itself — Gary Nimako Marfo

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) should blame itself and not point fingers at the Supreme Court for nullifying the election of James Gyakye Quayson as the Member of Parliament (MP) of Assin North, the Director of Legal Affairs of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Gary Nimako Marfo, has stated.

According to him, the Quayson debacle could have been avoided if the NDC had taken guidance from the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Ex parte Zanetor in 2016, in which the court held that the eligibility criteria for one to become an MP under Article 94 of the 1992 Constitution takes effect when the Electoral Commission (EC) opens nominations for aspirants to file to contest elections.

Speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic, Mr Nimako, who was a lawyer in the Zanetor case, said when the EC opened nominations for the 2020 elections in October last year, Mr Quayson ought to have ensured that he met all the criteria under Article 94 of the Constitution as interpreted in the Zanetor case before filing to contest the elections.

He, therefore, described as untenable, arguments by some members of the NDC that the Supreme Court was wrong to have nullified the election of

Mr Quayson because he got a certificate renouncing his Canadian citizenship in November before the elections in December 2020.

“In law, the foundation of everything has to be strong. You cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand. The foundation of Mr Quayson’s election was unconstitutional because, at the time he filed to contest, he had not renounced his Canadian citizenship. Because the filing was wrong, all the processes afterwards collapsed,” he said.


Mr Marfo said unlike the NDC, right after the Zanetor case in 2016, the NPP put in place a verification committee to ensure that none of its Parliamentary candidates fell afoul of Article 94 of the Constitution.

The verification committee, he said, was the final layer that could recommend to the National Executive Council (NEC) to disqualify a candidate, even though the person had won a primary if it determines that the candidate was not eligible per any of the criteria under Article 94 of the constitution.

“This problem can never happen in the NPP; it is not possible. Everything is verified by the verification committee, although the candidate had gone through vetting at the constituency and even won the primaries,” he added.

Unconstitutional act

Last Wednesday, May 17, the Supreme Court held that the whole process leading to the election of Mr Quayson – filling of nomination forms, the election itself and swearing-in, were all in violation of Article 94(2)(a) of the 1992 Constitution, which bars a person with dual citizenship from contesting as an MP.

It was the considered view of the court that as of the time Mr Quayson filed his nomination forms in October 2020 to contest for the Assin North seat, he had not yet renounced his Canadian citizenship and, therefore, was not qualified per Article 94(2) (a) of the Constitution.

Renunciation process 

Mr Marfo agreed with the Supreme Court’s position and dismissed arguments by those who said the former MP had renounced his Canadian citizenship when he commenced the process and he was not to be blamed for the delay in the renunciation certificate by the Canadian government due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Describing in detail how the naturalisation and renunciation procedure of Canada works, Mr Marfo said one can renounce his Canadian citizenship only when a renunciation certificate had been issued by the government of Canada. 

According to him, the fact that one applied to renounce his Canadian citizenship was not a guarantee that he would be granted a certificate.

“It can be refused especially if the person does not meet the criteria. An example is when there is an espionage case against the person or the person owed taxes. 

Mr Quayson knew very well that he had not gotten a certificate of renunciation, yet he came to Ghana, picked forms from the EC and filled them, stating that he does not owe allegiance to any other country other than Ghana,” Mr Marfo said.

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