constitution

Allowing birth certificates for voter ID would be a ‘retrograde step’ – Ghana’s Supreme Court

Two combined applications testing decisions of Ghana’s attorney general and related to the national elections scheduled for 7 December 2020, have been decided by that country’s Supreme Court. Determined to clean up Ghana’s voter register, the AG gazetted new regulations. Among them was the decision not to allow the old (current) voter identification cards to be used to identify people wanting to register as voters on the new, updated list.

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The decision in the case had already been announced by the court a few weeks ago, with its reasons deferred until now. Applicants in the two matters had asked that the gazetted non-inclusion of current voter identification cards and of birth certificates should be declared unconstitutional.

All seven judges who heard the matter agreed to reject this proposition.

African Court tells Tanzania: your constitution violates basic rights

Africa’s premier regional court, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, has found that Tanzania’s constitution is in breach of the African Charter and other international law. This is because it provides that no one may test the results of Tanzania’s presidential elections in court. Tanzanian advocate, Jebra Kambole, brought the litigation in the African Court saying his rights under the African Charter had been violated. Finding in favour of Kambole’s application, the court ordered that Tanzania amend its constitution to remove this violation.

Disclaimer: The judgment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in this matter was read out, online, by the court on Wednesday this week, one of three decisions delivered that day. The judgment delivered in this case has not yet been placed on the court's website. The video link has also not yet been posted, even though the links for the other two judgments of that day have been placed on the court's YouTube page. However, I taped, watched and listened to the delivery of the decision in this matter as it was being handed down.

Two state entities overseeing Kenyan land administration fight over their respective rights, duties

Two Kenyan state entities are not seeing eye to eye about how crucial land issues should be handled. The National Land Commission and the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning both claim that tasks where they should be in charge, are wrongly being carried out by the other entity. Not even a supreme court advisory opinion has resolved the problem, and each continues to interpret that opinion in a way that favours its own interests, escalating conflict between them. There are also now two ‘live’ petitions that ask for judicial help in solving the disputes.

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Perhaps Kenyans are used to it, but it comes as something of a shock for outsiders to discover different parts of government involved in nasty turf wars and jockeying for power against each other.

In this case it is the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning squaring off against the National Land Commission (NLC). A decision on the dispute between them was delivered by the high court in 2018, and the matter then went on appeal.

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