June 13, 2024
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It’s a matter of English not law – Dr. Serebour Quaicoe on CI 127

Director of Electoral Services for the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr. Serebour Quaicoe, has reiterated the ECs interpretation of CI 127 as contained in the Commission’s document.

According to Dr. Quaicoe, a parliamentary candidate does not have to be a registered voter in the constituency in which he/she is contesting, but must either hail from said constituency or reside there as the constitution demands.

He said this on JoyNews’ PM Express in response to concerns raised by the National Democratic Congress concerning the eligibility of one Charles Opoku to contest in the upcoming Assin North by-election on grounds that Mr. Opoku is not a registered voter in said constituency.

According to the NDC, the EC’s defence of the eligibility of Charles Opoku to contest in the upcoming Assin North by-election reeks of bias and has clouded their judgement and interpretation of CI 127 as contained in the EC’s document.

CI 127, which contains the EC’s nomination form states that: “We the undersigned registered voters in ………………… Constituency do hereby nominate…………. ‘of the same Constituency’ to stand for election as a Member of Parliament, and we hereby certify that to the best of our knowledge he/she is qualified to be elected as such.”

The NDC argues that the phrase ‘of the same constituency’ implies that the candidate must also be a registered voter in the constituency in which he is seeking to contest.

However, the EC argues that the provision above “only requires those nominating a candidate for a parliamentary election in a Constituency to be registered voters in the same Constituency, and not the candidate who is being nominated to contest. The candidate is only required to hail from or reside in the Constituency to qualify to contest in that Constituency.”

However, the NDC is convinced this is a deliberate misinterpretation of the document.

Providing further clarification, Dr. Serebour Quaicoe said the issue was a matter of simple English not law as the CI and constitution is clear on the eligibility criteria of a parliamentary candidate.

“Before we started I made a statement that ‘we the students of Evans Academy do support the nomination of Professor Mensah for Vice Chancellorship’. Does it mean that Professor Mensah is a student? So this is exactly so. 

“‘We the registered voters ‘ so here it is talking about those who are sponsoring the candidate  and they are the people who they are saying that those people should be registered voters in the constituency so to me I believe that this is not law, this is clear English. This is not law. Because we the students of this place, support the [inaudible] of the same school, it does not mean that the teacher we’re supporting should also be a student.

“Because if the law wants the person to be a student it would have mentioned that ‘we support the nomination of Kofi Mensah who is also a registered voter in the constituency’ but it said ‘of the same constituency’ which means that the person is affiliated to the constituency.

“And the constitution has said it already that if you want to contest in a constituency then you should be a resident of the constituency, you should be hailing from the constituency or you should have resided in the constituency, so that clause is telling you that the person has a link with that constituency,” he said.

Source: Cornerlis Kweku Affre

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