electoral law

Crucial role for Africa's courts in preventing electoral violence

As judicial interest grows in the role that judges and courts should play relative to elections, the president of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights has addressed a conference of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Kenya on the issue. Among other questions, Justice Imani Aboud discussed the contribution that courts can make, through their work as arbiters of the law, that would help assure voters, and politicians, that elections are fair, and thus help reduce the likelihood of violence related to polls. 

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The president of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Imani Aboud, says that courts in Africa are asserting themselves, even ‘venturing into the political space’ in an effort to ensure that electoral disputes are settled quickly and fairly.

Court ruling poses Lesotho elections dilemma

Lesotho’s October 7 election date suddenly appears at risk. The date was announced by the country’s Independent Electoral Commission in July, but a new decision of the constitutional court has found that the delimitation of 20 constituencies doesn’t pass constitutional muster, because the range in voter numbers is larger or smaller than the 10% variation constitutionally prescribed. The decision, delivered on August 8, puts the IEC under enormous pressure and it might not be possible to redraw constituencies in time for the elections.

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A new judgment by Lesotho’s high court has left the country’s Independent Electoral Commission in a quandary: how to satisfy election timetables at the same time as fixing invalid constituency delimitations so that they fall within the bounds of the 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.

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