The Permanent Court of Arbitration, in The Hague, Netherlands, has confirmed that ordinary Ghanaian citizens can sue their honourable members of parliament and other elected leaders who fail to deliver on their campaign promises.
The court explained that, the relationship between voters and their elected leaders is akin to a legally binding contract. “This contract relies on the tacit agreement that the elected official will deliver on their promises. An individual campaigning to be elected as a member of parliament in Ghana will usually promise the electorate heaven on earth- good roads, jobs for all the youth and some are even bold enough to promise an uninterrupted supply of electricity. The people fulfil their side of the contract by giving their votes in expectation of the better livelihoods they have been promised. An elected official who fails to deliver what was promised during the campaign period is therefore liable to be sued.
The court is of the view that the ordinary Ghanaian citizen can and should seek compensation just like Bankswitch Ghana, Balkan Energy and the host of other corporate entities and individuals who have been awarded judgement debts worth millions of dollars.
The court further explained that if an individual voted for a loosing candidate, then that individual will not be able to sue for damages. Only individuals who voted for an elected official can file a law suit to seek compensation for unfulfilled campaign promises. Individuals wishing to make a law suit will have to prove three things. Firstly, they will have to prove that they voted for the said official. Secondly, they must also provide video or audio evidence of the promise made by the official and then finally, they will be required to provide evidence that shows the said promise has not been fulfilled within the allocated time frame.
Politicians often make the most ridiculous promises just to win votes. They will not hesitate to promise to build a bridge even where there is no river, but with this new development, Ghanaians will hopefully see the end of these politicians whose promises are nothing but hot air.