Veteran journalist and editor of the New Crusading Guide, Malik Kweku Baako Jnr has commended former president and NDC Flagbearer, John Mahama for “opting to activate Article 64(1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana the same way then Candidate Akufo-Addo, his running mate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and the late Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, then the National Chairman of New Patriotic Party (NPP) did in the wake of the Declaration of the outcome of Election 2012!”
Mr Baako asserted that the action of the National Democratic Congress Presidential candidate will further deepen the country’s democracy whichever way the result may go.
Taking to his Facebook wall, the veteran journalist explained that despite the several exclamations of members of the NDC, per new rules which were gazetted on October 12, 2016, and came into force on January 5, 2017, only John Mahama is allowed to go to court to legally challenge the 2020 Presidential Election declared by the Electoral Commission.’
Members of the opposition NDC have indicated their intention of going to court as a party to challenge the election verdict declared by EC Chairperson Jean Mensa.
They have among other things held nationwide protests to register their displeasure at the result of the December polls.
But Kweku Baako maintains that by law, it is only the aggrieved loser, in this case, former President Mahama who can challenge the verdict in court.
He said a repeat of the 2013 situation where the NDC applied to join the action/litigation even though it wasn’t initially included in the list of respondents will no longer be entertained.
“Interestingly, Rule 4 of C. I. 99 has introduced a new Rule 69BA which effectively prohibits joinder or intervener of a person not stated in the Presidential Election Petition as a petitioner or respondent. What this means is that we shall not have a repetition of the 2013 situation where the NDC applied to join the action/litigation even though it wasn’t initially included in the list of respondents.”
Article 64(1) of the Constitution provides that “the validity of the election of the President may be challenged only by a citizen of Ghana who may present a petition for the purpose to the Supreme Court within twenty-one days after the declaration of the result of the election in respect of which the petition is presented”.
The authors of the Fourth Edition of the Manual under reference, after highlighting the purpose of Article 64(1), in my candid opinion, proceeded to pose a question of far-reaching implications and constitutional significance.
“The question is: can the petition be brought by more than one Ghanaian citizen? ”
Their answer was to the effect that: “The validity of the election of the President may be challenged only by a citizen of Ghana who may present a petition for the purpose to the Supreme Court” ENVISAGES THAT A PETITION, CHALLENGING THE VALIDITY OF THE ELECTION OF THE PRESIDENT, MAY BE COMMENCED BY THE PERSON WHO HAD BEEN DECLARED BY THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION AS THE LOSING PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. IN OTHER WORDS, THE ELECTION MAY BE CHALLENGED ONLY BY THE PERSON WHO ALLEGES THAT HE WAS THE WINNER AT THE ELECTION”(All caps- mine),” Baako added.