A presidential candidate hopeful of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Dr Ekwow Spio- Garbrah, has filed a suit against the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Attorney-General (A-G) over the violence that rocked the by- election in Ayawaso West Wuogon held on January 31, 2019.
The writ filed at the Accra High Court also named the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Ministry of National Security as the other defendants.
Dr Spio-Garbrah is seeking, among other reliefs, an order from the court directed at the A-G to present a bill to Parliament, “for the passage of an Act that deals with political vigilantism in the body politics before the 2020 election.’’
He also wants an order from the court for appropriate compensation for those who got injured in the mayhem that characterised the by-election.
The plaintiff is further seeking a declaration from the court that the EC has the final say on the kind of security that will be deployed at polling stations during elections, and an order directed at the EC that it gathers security information on polling areas.
He also wants a declaration that the National Security Ministry has no, “legal mandate to deploy any kind of security details whatsoever to an election polling station without a formal request from the police.’’
Following the death of the sitting Member of Parliament (MP) in Ayawaso West Wuogon, Mr Emmanuel Kyeremateng Agyarko, a by-election was held in the constituency on January 31, 2019.
Violence, however, erupted when some unknown gunmen invaded the Bawleshie residence of the NDC candidate, Mr Kwasi Delali Berempong, in the Ayawaso West Wuogon.
At least 18 people got injured and were rushed to the hospital.
On February 6, 2019, the government set up a four-man Commission of Enquiry to probe the violence, with former chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Justice Emile Short, as chairperson, Professor Henrietta Mensah Bonsu and a former Inspector General of Police, Mr Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong, are members. Private legal practitioner, Mr Ernest Kofi Abotsi, is secretary to the commission.
Commission’s terms of reference
Dr Spio- Garbrah contended in his suit that he had decided to go to court despite the Commission of Enquiry because the commission‘s terms of reference did not cover all the issues.
“The commission is to look at the broader case of political vigilantism and the effect on our nation in general, whereas this action seeks some declarations and orders as a result of the violence during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election,’’ he averred.