Hearing takes place on Wednesday, 17th March 2021 in the Supreme Court of the application for review of the Court’s decision on 5th January 2021 to quash certain orders a High Court in Ho made on 23rd December 2020.
Tsatsu Tsikata, Lead Counsel for the Applicants, will be arguing the
application for review on the basis of eighteen grounds of fundamental error of law set out in the application filed on 12th January 2021.
Professor Margaret Kweku, NDC Parliamentary Candidate for Hohoe
Constituency and the four other Interested Parties brought proceedings in the High Court, Ho for the enforcement of the fundamental rights of the people of the Santrokofi Akpafu Likpe Lolobi traditional areas (referred to as SALL traditional areas) to vote in respect of the Parliamentary elections held on 7th December 2020.
The High Court, Ho, granted interim orders, including an order to restrain Peter Amewu from holding himself out as Member of Parliament -Elect for Hohoe Constituency, which were quashed by the Supreme Court on the application ofthe Attorney-General.
According to the very first ground for review (Ground a) filed by the Solicitor for the Applicants, Emile Atsu Agbakpe, the Supreme Court fundamentally erred when it referred to the right to vote as a provision falling within the Directive Principles of State Policy under the Constitution rather than being among the fundamental human rights.
The Supreme Court is also said to have erred fundamentally in claiming that the High Court, Ho would have to determine whether the right to vote is a fundamental human right or not since this is something that has been settled by a long line of decisions of the Supreme Court which are binding on all courts, including the Supreme Court itself.
The second ground of fundamental error for which reason a review is being sought is that, as the High Court, Ho has jurisdiction to enforce human rights and was exercising that jurisdiction, the Supreme Court should not have invoked its supervisory discretionary power against the Court (Ground b)
The Application for review is also alleging that since it was clear from the processes filed in the High Court, Ho, that Mr. Amewu’s declaration by an official of the Electoral Commission as MP-Elect was being challenged on account of the denial to voters in the SALL area of the right to vote in the Hohoe constituency, the Supreme Court fundamentally erred when it claimed that the action brought by Professor Margaret Kweku and others in the High Court, Ho, was really only against acts of the Electoral Commission and not about Mr. Amewu. (Ground d).
It is also the case of the Applicants for review that the Supreme Court committed a fundamental error that has occasioned a miscarriage of justice in depriving the Applicants of “constitutionally protected fundamental human rights by recourse to a provision in a statute.” (Ground (i))
Another fundamental error that has occasioned a miscarriage of justice being alleged in the application for review is the Supreme Court saying that “the only time that the High Court has power to make orders affecting the validity of any parliamentary election is when an election dispute is initiated under article 99 of the Constitution.” (Ground m)).
A further fundamental that has occasioned a miscarriage of justice being alleged is about the court saying in one breath that “… the wrong orders of the trial High court made on 23rd December, 2020, died a natural death by the close of 2nd January 2021 ….., in effect, as of today 5th January 2021, there are no subsisting orders of the trial High Court to be brought to this
Court to be quashed”, and, in another breath, ordering that “the entire proceedings of the High Court, Ho dated 23rd December, 2020, which led to the making of the void orders of mandamus
and injunction, be brought to this Court for the purpose of same being quashed, and are hereby quashed.” (Ground n)).
The review application also takes issue with the Supreme Court striking out certain reliefs sought in the High Court, Ho when the application brought by the Attorney-General did not ask for any reliefs to be struck out and the Supreme Court, therefore, had no jurisdiction to make those orders. Furtherin no opportunity was given to the Interested Parties to be heard in respect of the orders the court made on the reliefs. (Ground p))
A further ground of fundamental error by the Supreme Court which, it is claimed, has occasioned a miscarriage of justice is in respect of the objection raised on behalf of the Interested Parties against the participation of Justice Hoenyenugah on account of the real likelihood of bias and actual bias arising from the Justice’s long-standing close relationship with Mr Amewu and the “unbreakable bond” between them.
The Supreme Court, it is claimed,
made a fundamental error in having Justice Hoenyenugah participate in the determination of the objection as that amounted to being a judge in his own cause. (Ground q)).
The conclusion to the review application, therefore requests the Supreme Courtin the interests of justice, to review its decision and allow the case in the High Court, Ho, for the enforcement of the fundamental human rights of the Interested Parties to “run its course.
The Respondents therein, including Amewu and the Attorney-General, have every opportunity to present their case to that court.
It is undoubtedly in the interests of justice that the Interested Parties are heard expeditiously in respect of their serious allegations of violations of their fundamental human rights.”
Professor Margaret Kweku, the first Interested Party, says: “The NDC is deeply committed to the fight for the democratic rights of the people of the SALL traditional areas. I am proud to be in the forefront of this fight. We will do all we can in the Supreme Court and the High Court, Ho to secure enforcement of these fundamental human rights, including the right to be
represented in the 8th Parliament of the Fourth Republic of Ghana.” Issued on Tuesday 16th March, 2021.
George Bright Anni Bansah
Chairman Hohoe Constituency, NDC.