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Chief Justice cautions minors not to vote

Chief Justice Georgina Wood

The Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Wood, has asked parents whose under-aged children registered for the December polls not to allow them to vote to ensure free and fair elections.

She said though voting is fundamental human right the casting of ballot by minors was an offence.

Mrs Wood was speaking at the 11th Chief Justice Forum,  on the theme: “Access to justice, a tool for peace and stability”, in Koforidua in the Eastern Region on Thursday.

The Chief Justice reminded Ghanaians that the 1992 Constitution mandates only persons who are 18 years and above to vote, and appealed to the people to observe electoral rules to ensure free and fair polls on December 7.

Mrs Wood said measures have been initiated to deal with electoral disputes and that ‘’ the Judicial Service has increased the number of high courts dedicated to hear and determine electoral disputes by including all courts in the regional capitals and in Accra.”

She said Judges would be required to sit on electoral cases at weekends and public holidays to ensure speedy adjudication.

The Chief Justice said the Judiciary, which is not above the law and accountable to the people, had a responsibility to promote peace and stability.

Professor Kofi Kumado, of the Faculty of Law, the University of Ghana, who gave an insight into the role of the Judiciary, and an election manual for judges, cautioned that minors, who would cast their votes in Election 2012, could be prosecuted.

He said in adjudicating electoral cases, ‘’judges must be guided by the long learning of the law at the law school, the judicial oath they had taken and their conscience to ensure that judgment would be acceptable and rational to all parties involved.”

Prof. Kumado asked the public to bear with Judges in the discharge of their duties because Judges exploit the law and the constitution to arrive at their decisions, coupled with the fact that most courts are not automated and Judges have to write judgments.

Mr Kwasi Amoako Adjei, the Regional President of the Ghana Bar Association, said the association would assist in the adjudication of electoral cases.

He, however, urged politicians to explore other means of resolving electoral disputes, other than the court, which often leave people in some constituencies without parliamentary representation for long period.

Source: GNA

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