8 November 2012

Ghana: Ward-Brew's DPP Advances On EC

Faced with several attacks from prospective Presidential aspirants of political parties whose forms were rejected, the Electoral Commission (EC) is yet again expected to face a new legal battle in an Accra Fast Track Court (FTC), where the Democratic People's Party (DPP) and its presidential nominee, T.N. Ward-Brew are complaining of being handed a raw deal.

The court will on November 9, this year, hear a motion filed by the plaintiffs seeking an extension of time to enable them submit their presidential nomination forms.

The DPP and its presidential candidate, Mr. Ward-Brew, are seeking an order of the court directed at the returning officer and the EC to extend the time for submitting presidential nominee forms to enable him to so do.

The applicants are also asking that the respondents be ordered to receive and process his nomination forms and also to include their presidential nominee onto the list of presidential candidates contesting the 2012 Presidential Election.

According to the applicants, the EC failed to attend to them even though they had reached the offices of the commission long before the deadline.

In a writ issued on November 6, this year against the returning officer for Presidential Elections and the EC, the DPP and Mr. Ward-Brew are jointly and severally claiming a declaration that the conditions in the filling room of the EC were unsuitable for the presidential candidates to be attended to by the commission due to over crowding and also very limited time to attend to 12 presidential candidates of various political parties.

Additionally, the plaintiffs are seeking an injunction both mandatory and prohibitory, against the Returning officer and the EC as well as an order of extension of time in order to be attended to by the defendants.

The plaintiff is also seeking a declaration that once the plaintiff candidate was not late and had been given access to the nomination filing room at about 4.35pm before the gates were closed, the EC had the obligation to attend, received and process his nomination forms.

Plaintiffs is further asking for general damages and interest at the prevailing Bank rate up to the date of paying back his nomination fee of GH¢10,000, which was already paid through bankers draft to the EC.

In his statement of claim, the plaintiffs noted that they are entitles to participate in the 2012 Parliamentary and presidential elections and had already paid a nomination fee of GH10, 000 in bankers draft into the coffers of the EC and that this election had been constrained by in adequate time resulting from several limitations, such as carrying out Biometric Registration exercise and revision of voter register among others.

Plaintiffs noted that from October 8, this year, when they were allowed to pick nomination forms at the EC to the deadline of presenting the forms was only nine days was not adequate as it would have to tour the length and breadth of the country to get 360 signatories to the forms.

According to the plaintiffs, they got to the conference hall of the EC about 4.35pm and met a hall parked filled with 11 presidential candidates and their supporters and the returning officer was most of the time inside his office and came out occasionally.

"The representative of the returning officer omitted to call on the presidential candidate of the DPP to appear in the centre but the congestion and over crowding would not allow it", the statement pointed out.

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