- Accra Supreme Court: James Gyakye Quayson as Assin North MP Unconstitutional
In a landmark ruling on May 17, 2023, the Supreme Court of Ghana released the complete judgment outlining its unanimous decision to declare the election of James Gyakye Quayson as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin North in the Central Region unconstitutional.
The court’s seven-member panel, presided over by Justice Jones Dotse and including Justices Nene Amegatcher, Mariama Owusu, Gertrude Torkornoo, Professor Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi, and Barbara Ackah-Ayensu, ordered the immediate removal of Mr. Quayson’s name from the MP position.
The crux of the court’s decision revolves around the violation of Article 94(2)(a) of the 1992 Constitution, which explicitly prohibits individuals with dual citizenship from contesting as Members of Parliament.
The court found that the entire process leading to James Gyakye Quayson’s election, encompassing the submission of nomination forms, the election itself, and the subsequent swearing-in ceremony, was in direct contravention of this constitutional provision.
The court’s analysis revealed that at the time Mr. Quayson filed his nomination forms in October 2020 to vie for the Assin North seat, he had not officially renounced his Canadian citizenship. As a result, he did not meet the eligibility criteria outlined in Article 94(2)(a) of the Constitution. Furthermore, the court determined that the Electoral Commission (EC) had also acted in violation of the Constitution by allowing Mr. Quayson to participate in the election despite his unresolved dual citizenship status.
In its comprehensive judgment, the court articulated, “Upon the true and proper interpretation of Article 94(2)(a), the decision of the second defendant [Electoral Commission] to permit the first defendant [James Gyakye Quayson] to contest the parliamentary election of Assin North when the first defendant had not shown evidence of the cancellation of his citizenship of Canada is an act which is inconsistent with and violates Article 94(2)(a) of the 1992 Constitution.”
Consequently, the Supreme Court declared James Gyakye Quayson’s election and subsequent swearing-in as an MP for Assin North unconstitutional, null, void, and devoid of legal effect. The court’s ruling stemmed from a case brought before it by a constituent of Assin North, Michael Ankomah-Nimfah, who sought the court’s intervention to address the alleged unconstitutional nature of Mr. Quayson’s election.
As part of its commitment to transparency and accountability, the court pledged to provide a detailed breakdown of the reasons underlying its judgment. The full exposition of the court’s decision will be lodged at the court’s registry by June 7, 2023.
This significant verdict underscores the Supreme Court’s dedication to upholding the principles of the Ghanaian Constitution and ensuring the integrity of the electoral process, even as it sets a precedent for future cases involving the eligibility of parliamentary candidates with dual citizenship.
Supreme Court Verdict: Election of James Gyakye Quayson as Assin North MP Unconstitutional [PDF]
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