Former Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, has put forward a proposal for punitive sanctions against individuals whose election petitions prove unsuccessful in law courts. The aim is to discourage the filing of frivolous petitions and streamline the electoral dispute resolution process.
In his address at the Constitutional Day Public Lecture, Dr. Afari-Gyan asserted that imposing punitive sanctions on individuals who do not succeed in their election petitions would serve as a deterrent. The proposal, outlined during the event organised by UPSA Law School and the One Ghana Movement, is aimed at curbing the tendency of rushing to court with election-related disputes.
Dr. Afari-Gyan emphasised the need for a more streamlined and efficient electoral dispute resolution system. By suggesting punitive measures for unsuccessful petitioners, this he believes individuals would think twice before initiating legal proceedings without substantial grounds, contributing to a more judicious use of the legal system.
“It appears that some candidates rush to court with election petitions alleging manipulation of results, primarily to placate their financiers and supporters so that they will be given another chance to be a candidate in the next elections,” he said.
He further expressed concern about the pressure and potential reputational damage such quick petitions have on the courts. He cited Nigeria as an example and suggested that measures should be taken to curb such instances in Ghana.
“The rush can cause undeserved injury to the reputation of the Electoral Commission and unnecessary inundation of the court. As we speak, there are over one thousand election petitions before the courts in Nigeria following the 2023 elections, and some of them will not be concluded before the next election.
“To prevent the rush to court with improbable election petitions from becoming a fashion, I suggest that election petitions that do not succeed should attract punitive sanctions,” Dr Afari-Gyan stressed.