The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has been thrown into a state of panic after the Cape Coast High Court annulled the results of the 2020 parliamentary elections in the Assin North constituency which was won by the NDC.
This single act by the Cape Coast court has swung the balance of power in the Parliamentary chamber in favour of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) which will now have a clear majority in the legislative chamber which had basically been a hung parliament with both the opposition and ruling party having 137 seats each.
A by-election has already been activated to consolidate the substantive party to control the troubled Assin Noth seat.
Today, the Cape Coast Court, presided over by Justice Kwasi Boakye, ordered for fresh elections to be conducted in the constituency, following a petition that at the time Joe Gyaakye Quayson, the NDC Member of Parliament for the constituency won the seat, he had not renounced his Canadian citizenship and had held on to his dual nationality when he stood for the election.
According to the court, at the close of nomination for his candidature on October 9, 2021, the Assin MP had still not renounced his Canadian nationality.
The petitioners argued that for Gyaakye Quayson to hold himself as the MP would be a complete violation of Article 94 (2a).
Handing his judgement on Wednesday, the judge said the MP, Joe Gyaakye Quayson violated constitutional provisions and other statutory provisions that guide Ghana’s elections.
The embattled Assin North MP argued that at the time of his nomination, he had already applied for the denunciation of his Canadian citizenship and that the delay in getting his certificate was purely administrative and arose out of the two-month lockdown from COVID-19.
The court rubbished his argument and proceeded to nullify the parliamentary election in the constituency.
Some legal luminaries are of a different opinion to the court’s decision. Us-based Ghanaian law professor, Kwaku Asare noted that the Cape Coast Court erred in its judgment.
He described the ruling as a “misrepresentation on steroids”. According to Prof. Asare, natural-born Ghanaians owe an indivisible, indelible and permanent allegiance to Ghana.
“The judge must stay his ruling and refer the matter to the Supreme Court for interpretation,” Asare wrote on his social media platform.
Meanwhile, a livid Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrissu is accusing the court of opening themselves up for manipulation by the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) to slim down the edge the NDC has in the lawmaking chamber.
However, critics doubt the NDC had its advantage in Parliament diligently, with accusations that some of the opposition MPs had been compromised to favour the ruling party.
This particularly became evident when the NDC which wielded more power in the vetting committee of Parliament could not weigh in to reject certain controversial ministerial nominations of President Akufo Addo.
Angry critics had wanted minister nominees like Ken Ofori-Atta of the Finance Ministry and Ursula Owusu Ekufful of the Communications Ministry among others to have been rejected for their various scandals.
Meanwhile, the by-election at the Assin North constituency has become a toss-up for any of the two biggest parties.