Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Supreme Court And Its Interpretation Of The Law

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The Chairman Sonko Case And The Need For Supreme Court Vigilance

National Assembly members are makers of the law. The agencies of the Executive are the enforcers of the law. The Supreme court is the interpreter of the law.

The National Assembly makes the law by legislation. The Supreme court makes the law by interpretation. This is why the office of judges of the Supreme court must have security of tenure. No executive should have the power to appoint and dismiss judges, otherwise Presidents would become makers of the law by appointing those who interpret the law as they wish.

When the National Assembly started to remove the undemocratic laws from the statute books, one of those laws is to make it possible for an elected National Assembly member or Councillor to be removed by dismissing them from parties to which they were members when they were being elected.

Those who crafted the provision for National Assembly members and Councillors to vacate their seats if they cease to be members of the parties which put them up as candidates was to prevent them from cross-carpeting to leave heir parties and join another after election. This would be a progressive legislation if viewed from such an angle.

On the other hand, Party executives started to use the same provisions to dismiss elected Councillors and National Assembly members from their parties so that they would automatically lose their seats. This is clearly in contravention of all democratic principles.

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Those who elect are the ones who should have the power to recall. This democratic principle is now a provision in the 1997 Constitution and

 local Government Act.

Hence, Foroyaa did argue that a party which is dissatisfied with a given elected Councillor, Chairperson, Mayor or Mayoress should simply campaign for the person to be recalled by the electorate rather than just dismiss the person from the party.

The Supreme Court has now made a ruling that confirms such a view as the right interpretation of the Law.

On the other hand, the Supreme Court is yet to rule whether an elected person could resign from a party and join another party and still retain his or seat.

Foroyaa strongly advises elected representatives not to venture into cross carpeting unless they seek supreme court ruling on the matter. 

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