Judiciary will deal promptly with all electoral infractions - CJ

Daily Graphic

Electoral infractions which may arise during and after the December polls will be dealt with promptly by the Judiciary, using the revised Manual on Election Adjudication in Ghana.
The manual, which was first developed in 2008, was revised last year to address issues of electoral violations in the upcoming Presidential and Parliamentary polls to ensure that such disputes do not lead to post electoral conflicts.
The 304 page manual outlines the processes and procedure for adjudicating matters of electoral disputes.
“We have a constitutional duty to dispose of electoral cases expeditiously to avoid the accompanying mistrust and suspicion in this respect”, the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood stated at the national stakeholder’s conference in Accra, to discuss the manual.
According to Justice Wood, human nature exposes the “entire electoral process, which is the pre-electoral, during and post electoral periods as a potential source of conflict. In truth, irregularities are unavoidable in any major electoral contest; and thus conflicts and disputes are inevitable”, she stated.
Notwithstanding these differences, however, Justice Wood said the use of violence must be shunned for dialogue and legal adjudication to prevail to promote peace against violence.
In Accra alone, 30 courts have been earmarked to deal swiftly with any electoral dispute with a significant increase in the number of High Courts to hear and determine electoral disputes. All courts in all the regional capitals of Ghana are also included in the exercise.
According to her, the Judiciary has readied itself to provide a fair and firm hearing to all parties and would not succumb to threats and inducement in the discharge of its duties to the nation.
“The judiciary shall decide matters before them impartially, on the basis of facts and in accordance with the law, without any restrictions, improper influences, inducements, pressure, threats or interferences, direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any reason”, she stressed.
 Justice Wood described the manual as a useful information resource document on which series of trainings had been organised for judges, registrars and court staff to adequately prepare them for the task.
The Accra Region Police Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP, Patrick Timbilla said the police was prepared for the polls, which is about a week away.
“Security is a shared responsibility, we cannot do it alone. We want everybody to walk the talk of peace”, he stated.
The police hotline 18553, he stated was opened to the public to call and share relevant information with the police.
The security services, he stated was determined to ensure that there was peace before, during and after the polls and expressed the hope that “with the help of all of us, we will see light at the end of the tunnel.
The Principal Public Relations Officer of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs Sylvia Annor said the EC was about 80 per cent ready with all the materials needed for the elections.
The EC, she said was very happy with the manual, which would make it easy to deal with all electoral infractions.