A Deputy Attorney General, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, has argued before the Supreme Court that the people of Santrofi, Akpafu, Likpe, and Lolobi, (SALL) should have been allowed to vote in the parliamentary election during the recently-held polls.
He contended that the right constituency for the people of SALL to have voted in was the Buem in the Oti Region and not the Hohoe Constituency in the Volta Region.
The Deputy AG made the argument when he moved an application on Monday to urge the Supreme Court to quash an injunction by the Ho High Court on the gazetting of Mr John-Peter Amewu as the Member of Parliament (MP)-elect for Hohoe.
According to him, it was “erroneous” for the Electoral Commission (EC) to have prevented the people of SALL from voting in the parliamentary election that took place on December 7, 2020.
He argued that a new constitutional instrument, CI 128, which came into force on August 11, 2020, placed SALL in the Buem constituency.
“If anything, the election in Buem should rather be annulled for the people of SALL to vote and not the Hohoe Constituency,” he argued.
The Deputy Attorney had argued in the application that the facts of the case make it abundantly clear that the pursuit of the action filed by the interested parties at the High Court was an attempt to enforce a non-existent right.
“The interested parties have already been told by this Honoruable Court that, to the extent that C. I. 95 places their traditional areas of Santrokofi, Akpafu, Likpe and Lolobi in the Hohoe Constituency, same is unconstitutional. CI 95 ought to be amended in order to place the said traditional areas in the Oti Region. They ceased to be part of the Hohoe Constituency in Volta Region immediately the Oti Region was created and they were put thereunder.
“The alleged failure of the Electoral Commission to amend CI 95 to give effect to the boundaries of the new regions, does not mean that the interested parties together with the residents of the 4 areas, can continue to assert voting rights in the Hohoe Constituency. To do so will be inconsistent with article 47(2) which prohibits a constituency from straddling two regions, and will create further constitutional chaos.
“It is, thus, beyond doubt that the action at the High Court, Ho is a palpable abuse of the process. The wrongful assumption of jurisdiction by Justice Buadi, was a serious error apparent on the face of the record. This Court ought to exercise its supervisory jurisdiction to prevent a situation where the interested parties will, through the backdoor, surreptitiously seek to assert the right to vote in a manner which is constitutionally frowned upon.
“The interested parties’ case is borne out of mischief and an attempt to judicially sanction an unconstitutionality. It is merely a vile attempt to upset the hard-won electoral victory of the winner of the parliamentary election in Hohoe constituency through an unjustified invocation of the court’s human rights jurisdiction,” the AG stated.
In response, the lawyer for five individuals who secured the injunction, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, argued that the admission by the Deputy AG meant that the people of SALL were, indeed, denied the right to vote and also the right to be represented in parliament.
He submitted that CI 128, which placed SALL in the Buem constituency, was unconstitutional because it was not gazetted on the day it was laid before parliament as required by the 1992 Constitution.
The people of SALL did not partake in the December 7, 2020 parliamentary election but only voted in the presidential election.
This followed an announcement by the EC on December 6, 2020, in that regard.
SALL, which used to be part of the Volta Region, became part of the newly-formed Oti Region.
After the election, five individuals led by the main opposition NDC’s parliamentary candidate for Hohoe, Prof Margaret Kweku, sent a human rights application to the Ho High Court to injunct the gazetting of the results and the swearing-in of MP-elect John-Peter Amewu.
On December 23, 2020, the Ho High Court, presided over by Justice George Buadi, acceded to their prayer. It was this injunction and the entire proceedings at the High Court that the AG wanted the Supreme Court to quash.