John Peter Amewu
The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed an application for review challenging its own decision that set aside the orders of a Ho High Court, which had placed an injunction on the gazetting of John Peter Amewu, as Member of Parliament-elect for the Hohoe Constituency in the Volta Region.
The review application filed by Tsatsu Tsikata, counsel for the interested parties, had contended that the Supreme Court committed errors of law which occasioned miscarriage of justice and ought to be reversed.
A seven-member review panel of the court presided over by Justice Yaw Appau and assisted by Justices Samuel Marful-Sau, Lovelace Johnson, Gertrude Torkornoo, Amadu Tanko, Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu and Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi in a unanimous decision dismissed the application saying it had “failed.”
The court in a short ruling indicated that its full ruling was ready but for want of time would not be able to read it as the Chief Justice was also about to give a ruling in a different matter.
The court, however, indicated that the reasons behind its decision to refuse the review application would be filed at the court’s registry by close of yesterday.
Mr. Tsikata had argued the Supreme Court in its decision left it to the Ho High Court to determine whether or not the right to vote was a fundamental right and this constituted a fundamental error because the Supreme Court in many decided cases, which were not referred to in the ruling, had acknowledged that the right to vote was a fundamental right.
The review was also challenging the holding of the court that its jurisdiction did not extend to the consideration of the constitutionality of Representation of the People (Parliamentary Constituencies) Instrument, 2020 (C.I. 128).
According to Mr. Tsikata, although C.I.128 was not part of the basis of the case before the Ho High Court or the Supreme Court, once it came up and they contended that the instrument was unconstitutional, the court should have gone ahead to determine the constitutionality or otherwise of C.I. 128.
Again, he argued that the Supreme Court misapprehended the case of the affected applicants which hinged on the denial of right to vote of over 17,000 people the in the 2020 parliamentary election.
Mr. Tsikata argued further that claims by the court that Mr. Amewu had nothing to do with the case before the High Court was a fundamental error because the court made a determination of fact without any evidence before it and also went beyond its jurisdiction in doing so.
He concluded that the errors made by the court were fundamental on ground that it did not take into account its own decided cases and the fact that the right to vote was a fundamental right and not a right of directive principles of state policy.
The application was opposed by Grace Awu, a Senior State Attorney who argued that the issues raised in the review application had already been determined by the court and no new issues had been raised.
She conceded that the right to vote was a fundamental right as stated by the authorities and cited by Mr. Tsikata but added that the other issues raised by the application were just a rehash of issues that had already been determined by the court.
She added that the application did not properly invoke the review jurisdiction of the court.
A Ho High Court presided over by Justice George Buadi on December 23, 2020 granted an interim injunction aimed at restraining the EC from gazetting Mr. Amewu as MP for Hohoe in the Volta Region.
Mr. Amewu has set a record as the first NPP candidate to win a seat in the stronghold of the NDC in the Volta Region.
The AG’s office led by then Deputy AG, Godfred Yeboah Dame, now the substantive AG, went to the Supreme Court challenging the decision and argued that the orders of the High Court constituted a “flagrant abuse of the process of the court.”
During the hearing of the case, Mr. Dame argued that the application filed at the Ho High Court by the interested parties was a parliamentary election petition dressed as human rights action.
It was then opposed by Mr. Tsikata who stated that the admission by the then Deputy AG showed that the right of the people of Santrokofi, Akpafu, Lipke and Lolobi (SALL) to vote and be represented in Parliament was violated by the EC.
A five-member panel of the court presided over by Mr. Appau in a unanimous decision then held that Mr. Amewu, though a beneficiary, had nothing to do with the denial of the right of the people of SALL to vote in the parliamentary elections.
The court had also held that the applicants went to the Ho High Court with an election petition disguised as a human rights issue but Mr. Tsikata said the court erred in taking the decision and filed for a review which was dismissed yesterday.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak