A COURT application by the Ombudsman Commission to prevent Parliament from deliberating on the proposed increase on nomination fee and petition filing fee has been refused by the Supreme Court.
This means the recent amendments to section 103(2) of the Constitution and section 87 and 209 of the Organic Law on the National, Provincial and Local-Level Government elections by parliament will remain.
The Ombudsman Commission last month filed an application for an injunction to prevent Parliament from debating, deliberating and voting on National Election nomination fee and petition filing fee.
The Supreme Court refused the application last Friday on grounds that it could not interfere with Parliament to deliberate on the proposed increase in nomination fees from K1000 to K10,000 and petition filing fee from K5000 to K20,000.
The proposed law was to amend section 103(2) of the Constitution and sections 87 and 209 of the Organic Law on National and Provincial and Local-Level Government Elections. The Government needs two-thirds majority (75 MPs) to pass the constitutional amendment at the last session of Parliament starting on March 28 before the National Election.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has welcomed the Supreme Court decision saying it would enable Parliament to decide if election nomination and petitioning fees would be adjusted.
He said the proposed amendments would strengthen democratic process to enable true contenders to stand for elections, and would help prevent the malicious use of the court system after elections.
“The proposed changes are commonsense and the Supreme Court has made its ruling.
“It is now up to the Parliament to debate and then to vote on this issue, as is the democratic process of our country.
“Ours is a robust democracy, a democracy where the rule of law is respected and protected, and this has been reinforced by the Supreme Court decision.
“The proposed amendments to electoral laws will mark an important point in the ongoing evolution of the electoral process in our country.
“A natural evolution of any economy is that prices and costs will increase over time.
“Election nomination fee has not changed since 1992, while incomes have increased since 1992, consumer prices have increased since 1992 and it is only natural that other costs increase over a quarter of a century.
“Too often we have seen our electoral process manipulated and distorted by people who are not seeking election, but are playing a strategic game to manipulate the outcome for other candidates.
“We want serious contenders to stand for elections, men and women who are serious about representing their people and serving the collective interest of the nation.”