Story: Kwadwo Owusu Aduomi
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has asked the Supreme Court to provide clarity on its directive to Parliament to expunge the name of the then Member of Parliament for Assin North, James Gyakye Quayson, from its records.
This comes after some Members of Parliament (MPs) raised concerns about how to implement the order of the Supreme Court since the standing orders of the house do not provide a clear path on such a directive.
Reacting to the matter, the Speaker of Parliament, said all activities the ousted Assin North MP engaged in since January 2021 would hold until steps were taken on the way forward.
“What has just happened is strong evidence that there is a need for clarification. Don’t forget that the order is predicated on a number of declaratory rulings by the court, it was not given in isolation. There were four earlier declaratory judgments before the order came as the fifth. The other declaratory judgements said the election of the member was unconstitutional. As a result of that, it was null and void and of no effect.
The order did not say the Speaker should expunge [his name]. It did not say any Member of Parliament or Clerk should expunge [the name], it says the institution called Parliament. So that institution must carry out the order. The only way the institution can carry out the order is for the institution to reason together. And that is only done in a sitting where the opportunity is given to members to think through it.
“I don’t want to assume powers that are not clearly spelt out in any law. So I did indicate and mentioned to some members of the Supreme Court that there is a need for clarification,” he added.
The Supreme Court in May 2023 ordered Parliament to remove James Gyakye Quayson’s name from its records as the Member of Parliament for Assin North.
Parliament then declared the seat vacant which paves the way for a by-election on June 27.
The Supreme Court ruled that Mr. Quayson was not qualified to contest the 2020 parliamentary elections in the Assin North Constituency at the time he filed his nomination forms on October 9, 2020.
The Court found that Mr. Quayson had not shown evidence of renouncing his Canadian citizenship, and that the Electoral Commission had granted him permission to contest the election without this evidence.
The Court further ruled that Mr. Quayson’s election as Member of Parliament for Assin North Constituency was unconstitutional.
The 7-member Court in a unanimous ruling stated that “the qualification of holding only Ghanaian citizenship must be present at the time of nomination, and not any date thereafter.”
he Court also held that “any person, who has obtained citizenship of another country other than Ghana, and who files for nomination with the Electoral Commission to contest for election as a Member of Parliament will not be qualified to contest for elections unless and until they show a record from the alternate State that they no longer hold the citizenship of that State as at the date of filing their nominations with the Electoral Commission.”
“Since Mr. Quayson had not received his certificate of renunciation as a Canadian citizen as of October 9, 2020, he was not qualified to be a Member of Parliament at the time he filed his nomination papers, at the time he stood for election, and at the time he was declared as elected Member of Parliament”.
“This court has to, therefore, reiterate its earlier conclusion that the qualification of holding only Ghanaian citizenship must be present at the time of nomination, and not any date thereafter – in this case by 9th October 2020”.
“Since the 1st defendant had not received his certificate of renunciation as a Canadian citizen as of 9th October 2020, then he was not qualified to be a Member of Parliament at the time that he filed his nomination papers, at the time he stood for elections, and at the time he was declared as elected Member of Parliament, because he owed allegiance to another country as at 9th October 2020, the date when he should have satisfied the qualification criteria”.