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High Court chastises EC over handling of SALL election case

The High Court in Ho has slammed Ghana’s Electoral Commission for its “lackadaisical attitude” in an ongoing election petition related to the 2020 parliamentary polls in the Santrokofi, Akpafu, Likpe and Lolobi (SALL) traditional areas.

The case, heard on Tuesday May 21, 2024, centers around the validity of the electoral processes and outcome in the Hohoe Constituency, where voters from the Santrokofi, Akpafu, Likpe and Lolobi (SALL) areas were effectively disenfranchised.

Presiding judge, His Lordship Justice Owoahene Acheampong, expressed his dismay at the Electoral Commission’s failure to comply with previous court orders. He noted that the 1st respondent, the Electoral Commission, had “refused or failed to obey the orders of the court made way back in February” to file additional issues for the trial.

The court therefore ordered hearing notice to be served on the Director of Operations of the Electoral Commission in Accra as well as the lawyer for the Electoral Commission to ensure their attendance before the court on the next court sitting.

The court had set down for trial four issues filed by the lawyer for the petitioners following orders the court made on April 24, 2024 . The court also ordered that the parties ‘file simultaneously their witness statements together with any documents they may wish to rely upon at the trial within ten (10) days from today [21st May 2024]’.

The court also specifically ordered the Electoral Commission ‘to cause to file authentic copies of C.I 119, C.I 128 as well as the list of voters they registered in the SALL traditional areas within 10 days from today’.

The case was adjourned to 3rd June 2024 for Case Management and three dates in June 2024 (11th, 20th and 21st) for hearing.

The issues set down by the court for trial are as follows:
1.⁠ ⁠Whether the Representation of the People (Parliamentary Constituencies) Instrument, 2016, C.I. 95 was validly amended by the Representation of the People (Parliamentary Constituencies) Instrument, 2020, C.I. 128for the elections in December 2020;

2.⁠ ⁠Whether C.I. 112 made Santrokofi, Akpafu, Likpe and Lolobi (SALL) Traditional Areas part of Oti Region;

3.⁠ ⁠Whether C.I. 119 issued by the 1st Respondent lawfully realigned the boundaries of the Hohoe Municipality as established by the Local Government (Hohoe Municipal Assembly) (Establishment) Instrument, 2012, L.I. 2151;

4.⁠ ⁠Whether or not the non-participation of voters in the SALL Traditional Areas in the Hohoe Constituency Parliamentary election of 7th December 2020 invalidates the gazetting of 2nd Respondent as the duly elected Member of Parliament for the Hohoe Constituency.