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Stop NDC from commemorating December 31 – Lawyer asks Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is being asked to stop the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) from commemorating December 31.

This is the day in 1981 that the constitutionally elected government of Dr. Hilla Limann was ousted in a coup led by Jerry John Rawlings.

Mr. Rawlings became Chairman of the Provisional National Defence Council that governed the country till 1993 when Ghana returned to constitutional rule with the NDC winning power.

Ghanaian lawyer based in the US Prof Stephen Kwaku Asare is asking the Apex Court to stop the public celebration of a coup since it is inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the 1992 constitution.

He relies heavily on the case of the New Patriotic Party vs Attorney-General [1993-1994] 2 GLR 35 to make his case. In that case, the Supreme Court held that it was unconstitutional for December 31 to be marked as a public holiday. State funds were also not to be used for such celebration. The day has however been consistently marked by the NDC with a commemoration event often heralded with Former President Rawlings delivering a keynote address. Prof Asare wants this to stop.

He wants a declaration that the celebration or commemoration of the December 31 overthrow of the Constitution, 1979 in a public forum is inconsistent with or is in contravention with the letter and spirit of
the Constitution, 1992.

He wants an order to be directed at the National Democratic Congress, its founder, executives, agents, assigns, privies, servants and whomsoever of whatever description to cease and desist from the celebration or commemoration of the day.

He also wants the government to desist from renting public fora to the National Democratic Congress or other public associations for the celebration or commemoration of the December 31 overthrow of the Constitution, 1979.

Controversy over late appearance by defendants

Prof Asare is unhappy that the NDC and the Attorney General, defendants in the case failed to respond to his writ even though he filed he filed it on February 20.

He contends the party had 14 days to file a response but has simply failed or refused to do so.

His lawyers urged the court to adopt and grant the reliefs he’s requesting. The NDC and the AG’s office have since entered an appearance asking the court to grant them more time to file a response. The court granted this request as it struck out the request by Prof Asare asking that his reliefs be granted. The case has been adjourned indefinitely.

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