Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh, Majority Chief Whip

The Majority New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Parliament has stated that the position it took against the MP for Assin North Constituency holding himself as a member of the House has been vindicated.

NPP Caucus had argued during the swearing in of MPs-elect on January 7, 2017 that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate for Assin North James Gyakye Quayson had not been validly elected and therefore should not be sworn in.

However, the NDC argued to contrary and stressed that Mr Quayson should be sworn in, insisting their man was ready to face in legal consequences.

Now on Wednesday, the High Court in Cape Coast annulled the election of the NDC candidate who already took his seat in the legislature because he breached the provisions of the constitution with regard to dual citizenship as he filed for the polls at the time that he was a citizen of Canada.

Addressing the media immediately after the decision, Majority Chief Whip Frank Annoh-Dompreh reiterated that the court of proper jurisdiction only confirmed what his side had all along insisted on.

He recollected the events during the swearing in of MPs-elect for the 8th Parliament in which the status of the Assin North member created confusion in the Chamber.

“We raised the issue of eligibility related to the then Assin North Member of Parliament-elect.

“If you recall, there were dramatic representations, even from our side. We had questioned the implication of the decision for the member to sit and be part of that decision making.

“Today we have been vindicated because from day one, we had made our point abundantly clear. The member was invalidly elected. Lo and behold, a court of proper jurisdiction has come to make a ruling,” he added.

Mr. Annoh-Dompreh took a jab at the Minority, which argued that the ruling of the court was a travesty and a plot to rob a seat of the Minority for the governing NPP.

According to him, as law-abiding citizens, the Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu and his charges as law-abiding citizens need to file a review or go for an appeal if dissatisfied with the ruling of the court.

“Don’t bring the executive into this. We have built our country to the extent that we need to respect separation of powers and the Minority leader is part of the legislative arm of government, the court is part of the judiciary.

“So, if there is a court ruling and you don’t agree, you don’t go out and organize a press conference on the spur of the moment and start throwing jabs at executives.

“I think they are getting confused and I can understand that because they have been blown off their feet.

“But for us, it has only justified our claim at the initial stages, so we will advise the minority if they have any basis to expect a ruling otherwise, all they need to do is subject themselves to the process and let’s see what will happen from the law court, but this is much ado about nothing,” he stated. 

The Majority Chief Whip expressed sympathy for the minority and indicated he understands the matter has unsettled the side.

He however stressed that had the minority reflected deeply, especially on the day of the swearing in, they would have realised that the opposition NDC was going on a wild goose chase.

Mr Annoh-Dompreh charged the Minority leader to respect the sanctity of the law court and advised that when there is a decision from the courts, all should subject themselves to the due process and appeal when dissatisfied with a ruling.

Minority disagrees

Meanwhile, the Minority caucus had earlier described the ruling as a travesty and argued justice must not only be done but must manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.

Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu expressed worry that the courts may have been captured and have become forums being used surreptitiously to tilt the balance of power.

According to him, Mr Quayson won the Assin North constituency Parliamentary election outright as a citizen born and bred in that community but sojourned to Canada subsequently.

The MP, he said, had renounced his Canadian citizenship and expressly so as far back as 2019 and got his certificate at least before the elections.

According to him, the Minority is unfazed by the judge’s decision and expressed confidence the seat will remain an NDC seat.

He described as very repulsive the use of the law courts to chop off the number of seats it holds in the legislature.

“It is a travesty. Justice must not only be done but must manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.

“What is, however, worrying is that we don’t want to believe that the courts of Ghana have been captured and have become forums being used surreptitiously to tilt the balance of power.

“Our first step is to use the same legal processes, legal forum and opportunities available within the constitution. We will contest the ruling.

“Danger begets our democracy with the developments happening but as I have assured you, we remain unshaken, very resolved and cooperation will suffer,” he declared.