The Supreme Court has in a unanimous decision ruled that the Electoral Commission ( EC ) has the power to compile a new register.
Private citizen Mark Takyi-Banson and the opposition NDC filed the case in court asking that it stops the EC from compiling the register or allow the use of the birth certificate and voters ID card by prospective voters as proof of identification
The EC’s arguments
The commission in its legal arguments says the existing voter register which was compiled in 2012 and revised since by limited exercises has been held by the apex court as not being reasonably credible.
The EC makes references to the cases of Abu Ramadan and Another v. the Electoral Commission and another and Kwasi Danso Acheampong v the Electoral Commission and other.
It argues the two cases raised questions about the existing voters register with one holding that using the National Health Insurance card to get on the register was contrary to law.
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The Commission says this means “the credibility of the register compiled pursuant to C.I. remains in doubt save the registrations done with the voter identification cards before the coming into effect of C.I. 72”.
The commission further says not using the Voters ID and birth certificate will afford it an opportunity to compile a credible register.
Deputy AG speaks
Deputy Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame urged the apex court not to impede the EC’s quest to obey the law. He says the EC has admitted to training its officers not to obey a constitutional instrument and that was enough evidence to support the view that the current card cannot be used in the registration exercise.
The seven member panel that heard the case was presided over by Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah. Other panel members are Justices Jones Dotse, Paul Baffoe Bonnie, Sule Gbagegbe, Samuel K. Marful-Sau, Nene Amegatcher, and Professor Ashie Kotey.
The Court And It’s Decision
The court in its decision held that the EC is an independent body and will only be directed by the court if it acts contrary to law.
There was disagreement between the NDC and the AG’s office over whether or not the court allowed the use of the existing voters ID card.
NDC General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia told pressmen that the court had ruled in the party’s favour.
The AG’s office however holds a contrary view.
Lawyers for both parties are currently at the court premises waiting for the written order of the court for clarity.