By: Joseph Ackah-Blay/www.africanakua.com, Ghana
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has withdrawn its request asking the Supreme Court to rule that the Electoral Commission (EC) does not have the power to compile a new voters register.
This was after the court had asked the party to make a choice on which of its reliefs it wants to pursue.
While counsel for the party Godwin Edudzi Tamakloe had wanted to confer with the party, the panel reminded him that as a lawyer in the case, he can decide what question the court answers.
He opted to withdraw the request seeking to bar the EC from compiling a new register and instead pursue the exclusion of the voter’s ID card as proof of identity.
The court then asked the lawyers to address it orally.
The NDC contends the EC cannot exclude the existing voter’s ID card as proof to enable Ghanaians to register in the exercise slated for June 30. The court struck out that relief as withdrawn urging Mr. Tamakloe to orally address it.
Godwin Tamakloe told the court the processes filed by the EC does not produce any evidence to back its claims that persons who do not deserve to have the current cards are on the electoral roll.
The Commission in its legal arguments described the card as a fruit of a “poisoned tree.”
It, therefore, says excluding it will afford the commission an opportunity to “break from the past and remedy all the carried on ineligibilities”.
The Supreme Court on June 4 gave the EC up until June 8 to justify its stance. The commission has complied raising six legal issues to attempt to get the court to agree with it.
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 Commisusin 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.
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”.
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.