19 October 2012

Ghana: Aspiring MP Can't Vote

Sekondi — A Sekondi High Court, presided over by Justice Agbevor, has adjourned to the 26 of this month, ruling in a case in which the Mayor of the Sekondi Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA), Captain Anthony Cudjoe (rtd), has lost his right to vote in the Sekondi Constituency, where he is the parliamentary candidate on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The decision of the court follows an argument submitted by Counsel of the plaintiff to the court to restore his client's right to vote in the Sekondi constituency.

It would be recalled that a former Vice Chairman of the NDC in the Sekondi constituency, Alhaji Osmanu Muhammed, who defected to join the New Patriotic Party (NPP), dragged the STMA Mayor to the Sekondi Magistrate Court to bar him from voting in the Sekondi constituency.

According to Mohammed, the Mayor was not a resident of Sekondi, and, therefore, could not have registered as a voter in the constituency.

The Mayor had used his family residence in Sekondi to register as a voter in the constituency, but has his private residence at Ketan, where he currently resides.

The Magistrate Court, presided over by Mr. Samuel Enti, therefore, upheld the claims of the former NDC Vice Chairman, and consequently, barred him from voting in the Sekondi constituency.

According to the judgement, the fact that the Mayor had his family residence in Sekondi did not mean he was a resident.

Not satisfied with the Magistrate Court ruling, the STMA Mayor, through his counsel, filed an appeal at a High Court, praying the court to dismiss the Magistrate Court ruling, which barred the former from voting in the Sekondi constituency.

The grounds for the Mayor's appeal were that the Magistrate Court erred in law, when it buttressed the argument of the complainant that the Mayor was not qualified to be registered as a voter.

Again, the findings of the District Registration Review Officer were not corroborated by evidence on record. As such, the High Court should reverse in favour of the Mayor, the Magistrate Court ruling.

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