A former Attorney General, Martin Amidu, has called for the resignation of the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) Charlotte Osei, over the errors made by some presidential aspirants in filing their nomination forms.
According to Martin Amidu, the EC Chair had failed in her mandate to adequately educate the aspirants on the process of filling their nomination forms and should be held accountable for the errors which led to the disqualification on 13 of the 17 aspirants.
In a statement, Martin Amidu said: “Instead of rushing to disqualify them [the aspirants] contrary to the due process of law (particularly the right to alter or amend as provided by law and natural justice) and gloating on her competence in the unlawful application of C.I. 94 she should have resigned for failing in her functions to educate the aspirants for the complex nomination electoral process and its purpose.”
“It is demonstrable failure and an indictment on the competence of the Commissioner that only 4 of her class of 17 political parties and independent aspiring presidential candidates were able to understand and complete the nomination forms without error and to submit them at her own appointed time of 29th and 30th September 2016,” Amidu’s statement added.
‘No legal authority’ to disqualify 13 aspirants
The 13 candidates, including Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive People’s Party, Edward Mahama of the People’s National Convention and Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings of the National Democratic Party (NDP) were disqualified after the EC noted various errors in the nomination forms they filed.
However, Dr. Nduom’s chances of appearing on the ballot were raised on Friday after an Accra High Court ordered the EC to allow him to amend the errors on his forms and resubmit them for consideration by the EC.
The NDP and PNC also have separate cases in court against the EC seeking the reinstatement of their candidates in the race.
According to Amidu, the ruling did not come as a surprise to him explaining that the EC had failed to properly apply the provisions of C.I 94, resulting in the ‘illegal’ disqualification of the 13 aspirants.
He stated that despite the reasons given by the EC for the disqualification appearing to be legitimate, closer analysis revealed that the Commission, by failing to grant the aspirants a chance to correct the errors, had no ‘legal authority’ to nullify the aspirants’ nominations.
His strongly worded statement said: “A casual reading of the reasons provided by the Commissioner in that document leaves an ordinary reasonable person with the conclusion that the decision to disqualify each of the presidential candidates was premised upon an alleged non-compliance with regulation 7 of the Public Elections Regulation, 2016 (C.I. 94).
One walks away with the cogent and credible impression that the Commissioner purportedly acted in pursuance of an alleged power of disqualification vested in her under regulation 9(2) and (3) of C.I. 94.
“But even a fleeting perusal of regulation 9 of C.I. 94 should have left any lazy reader with a firm conviction that the Commissioner had no legal authority to invalidate the nomination of an aspiring candidate for president without first giving the candidate the opportunity to alter or amend his or her improperly completed nomination forms.
Unfortunately, the common sense objections of the various aspiring candidates to their disqualification in violation of regulation 9(2) of C.I. 94 were met with insolent language bordering on insults and impunity demonstrating the perceived omnipotence and infallibility of the Commissioner in making her decisions.”