A lawyer and member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Dr. Alex Segbefia, has argued that the legal contentions over the parliamentary election in the Assin North constituency of the Central Region, should have been brought before the Supreme Court, instead of a high court.
Speaking to Citi News after a Cape Coast High Court annulled the election because the NDC’s Joe Gyaakye Quayson breached the provisions of the constitution with regard to dual citizenship, Dr. Segbefia said the case required some constitutional interpretation.
“No lower court deals with constitutional interpretation,” he stated.
Article 94 (2) says a person shall not be qualified to be a member of Parliament if he owes allegiance to a country other than Ghana, and in Dr. Segbefia’s view, there is a key distinction between citizenship and allegiance.
But having listened to the judgment, he said the court made no distinction between citizenship and allegiance, but the party “expected the ruling to give some guidance on that.”
He noted the constitution’s use of the term allegiance in Article 94(2) “showing that our constitution actually sees a difference between citizenship and allegiance and therefore, based on that, we expected the ruling to give some guidance on that.”
Though Dr. Segbefia did not confirm if the case will be taken to the Supreme Court, he noted that “for further clarity, we think that it is important that we should go back to court and get some clarity from the Supreme Court on the interpretation of how Article 94 actually operates.”
The NDC had wanted a stay of execution in the case, and Dr. Segbefia suggested that there were attempts to frustrate Mr. Quayson’s defence.
“We didn’t put in a final statement, and we knew we were going to put in a final statement to get the appeal,” he said.
Moving forward, Dr. Segbefia said he was still confident the NDC will retain the Assin North seat in a by-election.
“Regardless of the shenanigans that are going on, whether we go through an appeal process, whether we decide to have a by-election… that seat will remain an NDC seat whichever court position we take.”
Michael Ankomah-Nimfa, a resident of Assin Bereku in the Central Region, filed a petition at the Cape Coast High Court seeking to annul the declaration of Mr. Quayson as the MP Assin North.
In November 2020, a group calling itself ‘Concerned Citizens of Assin North’ petitioned the Electoral Commission in the Central Region to withdraw the candidature of Mr. Quayson, arguing that he owes allegiance to Canada.
The NDC maintained that the MP did not owe allegiance whatsoever to any other country.
The Assin North MP applied to renounce his Canadian citizenship on December 17, 2019, but administrative processes to concluded ended after he had filed to contest the Parliamentary elections.
He eventually got his renunciation certificate on November 26, 2020.