Prof. Kwaku Asare Azar has described the case against the Assin North MP, James Gyakye Quayson as part of political savagery in the country and urged the courts to do better because to help the nation “do better”.
In his latest write up, Prof. Kwaku Azar insisted that “the case against the Assin North MP is not that he is a dual citizen” but how long it took for the renunciation of his Canadian citizenship to be accepted by the Canadian authorities ahead of his participation in December 2020 parliamentary elections.
According to the US-based accounting lecturer and lawyer, “the undisputed facts are that he filed for the renunciation of his Canadian citizenship in December 2019, a full year ahead of the 2020 general elections. The processing of the application was delayed by the pandemic but was granted in November 2020. It normally takes 3 months”.
“The EC inspected his certificate of renunciation pursuant to a letter of 24 November 2020 and cleared him to run for his seat on December 7, 2020.
“He was elected on December 7, 2020 and duly sworn in as an MP on January 7, 2020.
So the case against him is that he did not compel the Canadian officials to process his renunciation application quickly enough such that even if the renunciation became effective before the elections and was accepted by the EC, he must be forced to vacate his post for a bye-election that he is fully eligible to compete in.
“I cannot support this line of reasoning and I reject it.
What is the law that is being used to take his seat from him? It is Article 94(2)(a).
That law says that “a person shall not be qualified to be a Member of Parliament if he owes allegiance to a country other than Ghana.”
“Notice that this law does not talk about dual citizenship. However, that is a complex issue, for the current purpose, so let us assume it does.
“The law does not say anything about when this disqualification applies. Is it at the time of filing for party primary, national election, voting day, or on the first day of Parliament?
“The answer is provided by PNDCL 284(20)(d), which reminds us that voters’ wishes must be respected and the ground for cancelling an election results is “that the candidate was at the time of his election a person not qualified or a person disqualified for election.”
“So the only question to ask is that on December 7, 2020, at the time of his election, had he applied to renounce (the subjective test) or if you want to use an objective test had his renunciation become effective?
“How difficult is this to figure out? Did this same court system not answer an analogous question in the Dr. Zanetor case not too long ago?
“The EC reviewed the Assin North MPs papers, including his renunciation certificate, and applied the law to say he is qualified.
“Why is this call by the EC not subject to the usual deference that the Courts give to the EC in these matters?
“Those who want to disqualify him and apparently the courts have set aside section 20(d) of PNDCL 284 and inserted their own deadline in article 94(2)(a).
“We must do better as a nation! There is just too much political savagery. And the courts must do much better!!
“Is it now the law that the time that Canada acts decide who qualifies to be an MP? Will he be permanently barred if Canada had passed a law that it no longer allows renunciation?
“GOGO is saddened at the extent that we go to ruin bona fide Ghanafuo.
*SALL* is the cardinal sin of the 8th Parliament.