By William Mintah Hayford, Assin Fosu.
Residents of Assin North District in the Central region, have registered their displeasure over what they describe as a deliberate attempt by government, through the judicial service, to deny them of a true representation in parliament.
The residents said, they were shocked when the Apex court injuncted and restrained their Member of Parliament, Mr James Gyakye Quayson, from holding himself out as a Member of Parliament for Assin North Constituency.
Mr Quayson, was restrained in a ruling delivered by the Supreme Court on Wednesday, April 13, 2022.
This decision was taken on a petition brought before the Supreme Court by Michael Ankomah-Nimfa, a resident of Assin Bereku in the same constituency.
Mr Ankomah-Nimfa, had earlier secured a judgment at the Cape Coast High Court, overturning the election of Mr Quayson as null and void, but the embattled legislator ran to the Court of Appeal to have the decision set aside.
Mr Ankomah-Ninfa, is challenging the eligibility of Mr Quayson as the Member of Parliament for Assin North, following allegations that, he held dual citizenship prior to contesting for the Paliamentary position.
Although, the Court of Appeal dismissed his case, Mr Quayson subsequently went to the Supreme Court to have his issue resolved.
Michael Ankomah-Nimfah, also took the issue to the Supreme Court to seek interpretation of Article 94 (2)(a) of the 1992 Constitution.
In the same case, Mr Ankomah-Nimfah, asked the apex court to place an injunction on Mr. Quayson from holding himself as the Member of Parliament for Assin North, until the final determination of the case.
In a press conference on Tuesday, July 5, 2022 at the district capital, Assin Bereku, the residents described the verdict by the court as worrying and not in the best interest of the people of Assin North.
According to them, there are Members of Parliament who are also in court for various alleged infractions on their election, but the courts held that their people could not be denied representation.
Citing the cases of Hohoe and Techiman South for example, the residents bemoaned why justice must be selective depending on whom it affects.
They also cited the recent ruling by the apex court on the voting right of a deputy speaker, where the court established that deputy speakers represent a group of people who ought to have a voice in Parliament.
“You will recall that there are similar court cases in this country regarding Members of Parliament being challenged with election petitions. The cases regarding Hohoe and Techiman South are clear cases to be cited, and we think these cases are not exceptions, where we are told that, the constituents cannot be denied representation in Parliament at all times,” the statement said.
Charged in red and black scarlets, the residents said, the action by the apex court, only set a bad precedent and has no place in building a unified nation.
They have therefore called on the apex court, clothed with the original jurisdiction of interpreting the Constitution, to speedily bring finality to the interpretation of Article 94 (2) (a).
They also warned government to stay off the case and allow the independence of the judicial system to be felt in a modern-day democracy.