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Supreme Court disqualifies James Quayson as Assin North MP

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Mr James Gyakye Quayson ceases to be a representative for the people of Assin North Constituency in Parliament.

The Supreme Court which heard the dual citizenship case against Mr Quayson has instructed Parliament to expunge his name from its records.

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Following the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections, one Michael Ankomah Nimfah dragged Mr Quayson to a High Court for contesting the Assin North seat while in possession of dual citizenship.

He argued that per the laws of the land, Mr Quayson was unqualified to file his processes to the Electoral Commission (EC) and contest.

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The Cape Coast High Court after hearing both the petitioner and respondent in July 2021, nullified Mr Quayson’s’ election on the basis that the MP held Canadian citizenship at the time he filed to contest the seat.

However, Mr Quayson continued to parade himself as a legislator. This prompted the petitioner to take his case to the Supreme Court for interpretation of Article 94 (2) (a).

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He also prayed the court to declare that the EC breached Article 94(2)(a) of the 1992 Constitution when it allowed Mr Quayson to contest the parliamentary election in Assin North when he owed allegiance to another country.

He again urged the apex court to declare entire process that led to Mr Quayson’s election as MP for Assin North as unconstitutional and, therefore, null and void.

In April 2022, the apex court instructed the now former NDC MP, Gyakye Quayson to stop holding himself as an elected MP until the determination of the suit challenging his election.

In a 5-2 majority decision, the apex court ordered Mr Quayson to abstain from any Parliamentary business and also refrain from engaging in activities pertaining to an MP.

Mr Quayson’s lawyers filed an appeal but the Supreme Court dismissed it.

On Wednesday, May 17, 2023, the panel of seven presided over by Justice Jones Dotse which also includes Justice Nene Amegatcher, Justice Mariama Owusu, Justice Prof. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, Justice Gertrude Torkornoo, (CJ nominee), Justice Yonny Kulendi and Justice Barbara Ackah-Yensu sat to finally address the matter.

In court, the Supreme Court observed that the High Court in Cape Coast had declared the election of Mr Quayson as null and void, hence allowing him to remain in the capacity as MP “will be an indictment of the administration of justice.”

“There can be no justification for ignoring the submissions on the continued disregard of the orders of the High Court which have not been suspended or overturned,” the court held.

The apex court further expressed that “it will be failing in its exclusive mandate and duty to the Ghanaian people to uphold and defend the Constitution if it does not suspend, mitigate or abate an alleged constitutionality illegality if the applicant were to succeed in the end of this suit.”

Justice Dordzie and Amegatcher, in their opinion noted that there was no need for the apex court’s intervention as the petitioner just needed to enforce the High Court’s decision.

In view of this, a unanimous decision taken by the seven-member panel read that Mr Quayson’s name be expunged from Parliament’s records.

Mahama to review dual citizenship law in next government

Former President John Dramani Mahama has promised to review the constitutional provision that prevents Ghanaians with dual citizenship from holding political positions in the country.

According to him, such a law cannot be allowed to remain in the current scheme of things. 

Mr Mahama insisted that the law hurts the country’s human resource and must not be allowed to fester any longer. 

“But I want to assure the people of Ghana and James Gyakye Quayson, who is our MP for Assin North, that when NDC comes to power, we will clarify that constitutional provision that compels them to give up their foreign citizenship before they contest elections,” he said on May 7, 2023, in Tamale.


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