former Chairperson of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of Nigeria, Professor Attahiru Jega has suggested that political parties who have challenges with the electoral process should opt for alternative dispute resolution mechanisms rather than the law courts.
According to him, although it is important for aggrieved parties to seek redress in court, some of the cases should could be settled out of court to save time and money.
He also argued that it was better for parties to be encouraged to go to court rather than resort to violence to make their cases.
In an interview with Ghana Decides on Thursday [October 3], he said, “In general, it is better for people who are aggrieved in the electoral process to find justice in court than to try to “extract” justice through violence and other disruptive activities.”
“It is better to have a robust rule of law to which people can go to when they are aggrieved in the electoral process but I think it is important for an Electoral Commission to do its work so transparently so that they are less and less grounds for people going to court to challenge the actions of the Electoral Commission
I know that in countries like Nigeria, there are people who will go to court anyway, whatever you do, to exercise their rights so it is good if people trust in the court process and go there rather than trying to solve issues violently I think that is good and it should be encouraged but it can also be costly so alternative dispute resolution processes needs to be promoted.”
He said Nigeria had introduced an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism ahead of its 2015 elections and that helped to amicably address a lot of the disputes within and between political parties.
He therefore called on Ghana to adopt such ADR mechanism to address the various election-related lawsuits.
The Electoral Commission has been saddled with a number court cases brought against it by various political parties.
Among the reliefs being sought by the political parties are those to reinstate their disqualified aspirants in the presidential race, challenging the filing fees set by the EC for all aspirants.
‘Special courts for elections cases’ In order to ensure expeditious hearing and judgment on the numerous cases concerning the upcoming elections, the Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Woode established some seventeen (17) courts to ahead of the polls.
This follows concerns that the December 7, 2016 electoral calendar could be negatively affected following the rising number of disputes between presidential aspirants and the Electoral Commission (EC).