The state has asked the Supreme Court to dismiss a case challenging the public celebration of the Limann government’s overthrow in 1981, dubbed the 31st December revolution.
The Attorney-General has argued, in its proposed statement of case, that the plaintiff had not demonstrated that the celebration of the event by the opposition National Democratic Congress, offends the 1992 constitution.
The case was filed by accounting lecturer, Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare, who has asked the apex court to direct the NDC to cease and desist from holding the event.
Among other things, he has argued that the constitution enjoins political parties to organise their activities to conform to democratic principles.
The 31st revolution does not conform to the ‘spirit and letter’ of the 1992 constitution which frowns against coup d’etats, he has argued.
Prof. Asare also insisted that the celebration glorifies the illegal overthrows and induces pain for the victims of the violent events.
But it gets interesting as he also relied on a Supreme Court judgment in 1994 obtained by the New Patriotic Party, while it was in opposition, which cancelled the public celebration of June 4th 1979 coup and 31st December 1981 coups as national holidays.
The court held the NPP’s position (in New Patriotic Party v Attorney-General [1993-94] 2 GLR 35—192) that the celebration of these two days with public funds was “unconstitutional.”
The Supreme Court agreed that since the 1992 constitution enjoins Ghanaians to resist any attempt to overthrow the constitution, the celebration of these coups with public funds weakened the resolve of Ghanaians to defend the constitution.
The NPP, more than 26 years later, is in government and Prof. Kwaku Asare wants the court to order the state to stop giving out taxpayer-funded public places to the NDC and its founder, Jerry John Rawlings, who led the coup that ended the 3rd republic.
At the last hearing, the Supreme court directed the A-G and the NDC to immediately file its legal arguments before the next adjourned date.
Theghanareport.com has obtained a copy of the statement of claim filed by the Attorney General, signed by Chief State Attorney, Grace M-Ewoal.
The state argued that Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare has not properly invoked the jurisdiction of the court.
The Attorney-General said Prof. Asare had not demonstrated that the laws in the 1992 constitution, which formed the basis of his case, had been infringed by the NDC.
The A-G also said for a constitutional case to be heard by the Supreme, the plaintiff must show that there is a genuine case that the law is not too clear.
But in this case, the laws relied upon by the plaintiff has “no ambiguity” to require any interpretation at the Supreme Court, the A-G said.
The Attorney-General has also suggested it is inappropriate for the plaintiff to anchor his case on the judgement obtained by the NPP in 1994.
This is because, that case was to stop the celebration of the overthrows as national holidays and to stop the use of public funds in organising these events.
“The plaintiff has not alleged that the venues for the commemorations of the events are not paid for” the document reads, indicating the state no longer funds these events.
But the Attorney-General left more than enough clues in the statement to show the state is against the NDC’s celebration of June 4th and December 31st coups.
“My Lord it is our respectful submission that the Plaintiff’s claim in respect to the use of public space, which are funded and maintained by public funds, for the celebration of 31st December has merit,” the document read.
The Attorney-General said the celebration of the unlawful overthrow “defeats the purpose” of the judgement obtained by the NPP against the state in 1994.
The Attorney-General chided the NDC for celebrating events that brings back pain to the victims who are not allowed by law to seek redress and indemnifies the coup makers. The A-G said the continuous celebrations by the NDC “flies in the face of good conscience.”
The A-G argued that since the plaintiff has not properly invoked the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, the case should be dismissed.
“…we respectfully pray this Honourable Court to dismiss the Plaintiff’s action for not properly invoking the jurisdiction of this court or on the merits to hold that the continuous commemoration of the 31 December at public places funded or maintained by public funds violates the letter and spirit of the constitution and the essence of the decision in NPP vs. Attorney-General. ”