The Electoral Commissioner of the Student Representative Council of the African University College of Communications Manaf Abdallah has postponed the SRC elections for the 2021/2022 academic year till further notice.
The decision to suspend the elections, according to the EC is to resolve pending concerns raised by some of the aspirants. “The Electoral Commission of AUCC upon further deliberations have come to a conclusion that the electoral exercise which was slated to come on today has been postponed until pending concerns raised by some of the aspirants about the reports the commission adopted from the vetting committee has been dealt with”
The statement signed by the Chairman of the Commission also indicated that “efforts to get some candidates to provide their needed data to get the ballot papers printed proved futile and even resulted to chaos when the Chairman of the commission invited aspirants to a meeting to get their positions on the ballots done”
The Commission however pleaded with “stakeholders to exercise patience as deliberations and investigations are conducted by the appropriate authorities to get to the bottom of the matters at hand”
The elections which was scheduled to be held today August 31, 2021 but suspended has been fraught with series of petitions by some disqualified aspirants.
Three aspirants, Patience Hammond – Aspiring Women’s Commissioner, Akwasi Mfum – Aspiring External Affairs Officer and Alidu Mohammed Nasir-Deen – Aspiring Financial Secretary were disqualified after it emerged that they did not met the eligibility criteria to put themselves forward to be elected as executives.
The three unsatisfied with the EC’s decision proceeded to challenge the outcome of the vetting. In a petition to the Judicial Council, the disqualified aspirants prayed the Council to quash the outcome of the vetting results arguing that “the Vetting Committee is not clothed with any legal authority to disqualify any aspirants based on the discretion of members of the Committee but only the eligibility criteria as set out in article 10 of the SRC constitution, insisting the disqualified met all the criteria as stipulated in the constitution.
The Judicial Council led by Chief Justice Nana Agyenim Boateng dismissed the petition arguing that there’s no merit in the petition filed against the EC “Petitioner for the petition brought before us is not a candidate and has no direct interest thus, the vetting report could not have affected him.”
In the view of the Council “Pursuant to Article 21(8) of the AUCC SRC Constitution the petitioner to bring forth such a petition shall be a candidate. And added that a candidate who is affected by the vetting committee decision shall have 24hours in which to appeal to the Judicial Council”
But the petitioner Gideon Zor, representing the three disqualified aspirants as Counsel filed an application for a review of the decision arrived at by the JC. In his view, the Council erred when it assumed that Counsel for the aspirants cannot be cloth with the powers to sign a petition challenging the disqualification of the said aspirants. “Your Lordships respectfully missed the point when the Council stated in the parts of the judgment that though Counsel dutifully established his designation, “however, the said petition was given in the hand of one Gideon Zor, the petitioner who also doubles as the counsel to the petition.” . It is trite law that counsel may sign a petition for and behalf of his/her client without violating any law provided it had the consent and concurrence of the client. In the unreported case of DR GRACE AYENSU-DANQUAH v. ELECTORAL COMMISSION & JOE GHARTEY, Justice Dr Richmond Osei-Hwere, sitting at the Sekondi High Court, held that “lawyers (counsel) act as client’s agent litigation in which case, they can sign petitions on behalf of their clients. Respectfully, we have been advised by our counsel and we verily believed same to be true that the judgment of the Judicial Council, in the light of the judgment of the Sekondi High Court, was delivered per incuriam and must be reviewed. He added.
The application for a review is still pending as the Chief Justice is yet to schedule a day for the hearing of the review application