By the Constitution, we gave ourselves the right to vote.
And to do so every four years, by Jove!
Thus came another bout; we did the needful.
But not everyone was happy, even by the Constitution.
Those unhappy had a choice to ventilate their position.
To the Supreme Court they went, to air their grievance;
Hoping that in the end, they will gain more than a pittance.
Anxiously the whole nation waited, with corked ears and shined
Eyes to capture every moment.
January 2021 came and the show began in deed.
The losing party as petitioner started with his evidence;
Three witnesses he called, only two appeared
In person; the third came via video link, with a judicial officer
In his house; was that necessary in the era of digitalization?
Well, the chap is lucky; he drinks tea with the Queen.
With or without biscuits, only he can tell. After the three witnesses spoke,
No figures were given; thus the hope of a run-off was growing dim.
The petitioner was not despaired; he wagered the returning officer
Will come to the rescue. But the respondents and their lawyers had other plans.
Mounting the witness box was the last thing on their minds.
The choice to be mum was received with mixed feelings, depending
On the political hat the person expressing it was wearing.
‘You can’t compel a party to give evidence’, those with elephantine heartbeats screamed their lungs out;
‘You can’t refuse to give evidence when you
file a witness statement’, the inanimate umbrella adherents countered.
What did the 7-member referee have to say? You can lead a horse to water,
but you can’t make it drink. Chief referee fixed a date for written addresses.
Petitioner’s lawyer was not done yet; let the fun begin, he whispered to himself.
With light, camera and action, the stage was set; applications and reviews ad nauseam.
Here at last! It had been eight years in coming.
Elections chair thus had the blessing of the referees to stay quiet,
And same was received with all pleasure.
So now we know; returning officers declare results,
And their task is done. Losers can go to hell or go to court.
If they go to hell, our peace of mind we have; if they go to court,
Returning officer becomes tongue-tied and keeps mum.
Should returning officers refuse to speak to elections they declare?
Should Auditors-General refuse to speak to surcharges they make in their reports?
Will anyone be ever accountable for their constitutional duties?
Constitutional office holders need not decline
To speak to their constitutional duties in a constitutional democracy.
That was the intendment of the framers of the Constitution.
Eight years prior, precedent was set; the returning officer spoke and the sky
Did not fall. This new precedent we now set, how does it stand us in good
Stead? Every four years to come, our right to vote we will exercise.
This we shall do, till thy kingdom come.
Will there be petitions in future? No one can tell for now.
Will the returning officer speak? No one will ever know.
But optimistic we must be, lest we create furrows in our brows.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Francisca Serwaa Boateng is the Founder & Managing Counsel of FSB Law Consult.
Contact: email@example.com | Tel: 0302818433/0208195042 | www.fsblawconsult.com