The Northern Regional Coordinator of the Legal Aid Scheme, Lawyer Awudu Issah Mahmudu, is urging all political parties and their respective candidates especially parliamentarians, to take interest in learning the legal system related to electoral disputes.
He said such a step by candidates of the various contesting political parties would help them to take critical decisions in the event that electoral disputes arise and there is the need to seek redress in court.
Lawyer Mahmudu gave this piece of advice when he facilitated a Legal Resources Centre (LRC) training programme that brought together some Regional Executives of some political parties in the Northern Regional capital, Tamale.
The training programme which was organised under a LRC’s STAR-Ghana sponsored project dubbed: “Consolidating The Electoral Justice System in Ghana”, sought to enlighten participants on electoral disputes adjudication processes for political parties in the country.
An official of LRC, Enock Jengre, said under the project, LRC and its partner LADA Institute, are collaborating with the office of the Chief Justice, the Judicial Training Institute and the Judicial Service to ensure that adjudication of electoral disputes are fast tracked.
The aim of the training, he noted, is for the various political leaders to be abreast of electoral dispute adjudication mechanisms available in Ghana.
Mr. Jengre said that the LRC is a non-governmental organization committed to the realization of human dignity by building human rights capacities.
“This we do, by facilitating the establishment of human rights cities at home and abroad, conducting research, advocacy and advisory services including legal aid for individuals, organizations and communities.
“At the LRC, we seek to ensure human rights for all. We work towards the promotion and protection of the rights to Health, Education, Housing, Work, Participatory Democracy, Personal Liberty and Criminal/Civil justice”, Mr. Jengre explained.
Lawyer Mahmudu took participants through the various types of courts in Ghana and their jurisdiction and adjudication processes.
According to him, any dispute arising from parliamentary elections in the upcoming December elections, must be sent to the High Court and when one party is dissatisfied with the outcome, she/he may seek an appeal at the Appeals Court where any decision taken thereof is considered final.
He however cautioned politicians to be very careful of tagging state institutions particularly the security agencies of being the appendages of or belong to one political party or the other. “When you are in government you work with every institution. But you accuse every institution of state as soon as you go into opposition. That is not right and politicians must cease from such acts”, he adviced.
Going forward, participating political parties including the CPP, PPP, NPP, NDP, PNC and NDC recommended among other things, that all elections related cases should be sent to the court for redress.
They also recommended that the various courts that are tasked to sit on electoral disputes that may arise out of the 2016 elections should try as much as possible to avoid delays.