The attempt by an independent presidential aspirant, Ex WO I Richard Nixon Tetteh, to compel the Electoral Commission (EC) to accept and file his nomination forms, backfired yesterday, when the Accra Fast Track High Court struck out the case for want of prosecution.
Although WO Tetteh was in court, his lawyer, Mr J. K. Yeboah, was nowhere to be found when the case was called for hearing at about 9.15 a.m.
When WO Tetteh could not give any tangible reason for the absence of his counsel at the time, the presiding judge, Mr Justice K. A. Ofori-Atta, struck out the application after remarking that “the court does not wait for lawyers”.
WO Tetteh had filed a motion praying the court to compel the EC to accept and file his nomination forms.
This, according to a writ of summons filed by his counsel, would enable him to contest the December 7, 2008 presidential election.
In an accompanying affidavit, WO Tetteh said he expressed interest to contest as presidential aspirant upon the announcement by the EC that registered political parties and their respective presidential candidates, as well as interested independent candidates, could collect nomination forms.
According to the affidavit, the plaintiff duly completed the forms and submitted them together with his Tax Clearance Certificate and went to the office of the EC to present them on October 17, 2008.
Also attached was a payment order for the sum of GH¢5,000 to be paid into the EC's account.
The affidavit said the plaintiff got to the office of the EC in Accra with his supporters and they were asked to wait as officials of the commission were examining and filling the forms of other presidential aspirants who were already there.
It said after completing the nomination forms, WO Tetteh left the portion on the first and last pages, which he thought needed to be completed in the presence of the officials.
According to the affidavit, when it was WO Tetteh's turn, the EC officials directed him to complete the forms and resubmit them.
The affidavit said after completing the forms, the plaintiff returned to the premises of the EC at about 4 p.m. and waited until 5 p.m. when the chairman of the EC went to inform him that they had closed.
It said on hearing this, WO Tetteh challenged the chairman that it was the officials who directed him and his supporters ealier on to wait at the reception.
The affidavit said the EC chairman then advised the plaintiff to put in a petition which he submitted on October 20, 2008, but the EC refused to accept his petition and directed him to obtain an order from the court before he could be considered.
It said the refusal by the EC to accept the plaintiff's completed nomination forms was an infringement on his rights under the 1992 Constitution as a citizen of Ghana.
The affidavit said refusing to accept the plaintiff's completed nomination forms was tantamount to disqualifying him to contest the December presidential election, adding:
“This is unlawful conduct to cut short my ambition to ascend to the highest office of the land as a president of the Republic of Ghana.”
Story by Debrah Fynn