Charlotte Osei - Ghana's Electoral Commissioner (EC)
Charlotte Osei - Ghana's Electoral Commissioner (EC)

It has therefore requested the support and collaborative efforts of all stakeholders to be able to present a stable voters’ register for the November 7 polls.

Charlotte Osei - Ghana's Electoral Commissioner (EC)
Charlotte Osei – Ghana’s Electoral Commissioner (EC)
These were contained in a press release issued by the commission late Thursday and signed by Georgina Opoku Amankwaa, Deputy Chair in charge of Corporate Services.

The statement was in response to demands that the voters’ register be cleaned as ordered by the Supreme Court.

“The Commission confirms that it accepts the ruling of the Supreme Court which ordered that the Electoral Commission takes steps immediately to delete or as is popularly known ‘clean’ the current register of voters to comply with the provisions of the 1992 Constitution,” the statement said.

The EC however stated clearly that it was not going to delete the names of persons who had been registered using National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cards as their form of identification, as being demanded by some stakeholders.

The Supreme Court had earlier ruled that the NHIS identification cards were not eligible to be used as national identification cards.

Based on that ruling, a former National Youth Organizer of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Abu Ramadan, proceeded to the Supreme Court to seek a ruling to annul the existing voters register since it contained names of persons who had used NHIS cards as forms of identification.

The court however held that “for persons who registered with NHIA cards, such registrations were lawful at the time of registration, and the subsequent declaration of unconstitutionality in the earlier Abu Ramadan case does not automatically render them void”.

“Such a position would have the effect of disenfranchising the persons affected. Such registrations should only be deleted by means of processes established under the law, “the Supreme Court ruled.

It also ruled that the Electoral Commission had a duty to compile a credible register and, in so doing, must act within the remits of the Constitution and applicable law.

It observed also that the existing law had made ample and sufficient provisions for ineligible names to be deleted during the exhibition of the provisional register but such deletions must be in accordance with the applicable law.

While the plaintiffs in the case understood the ruling to mean an order for the names of those who used NHIS cards to register to be deleted, the EC argued that there was no such order.

“The Commission is of the view that the directives of the Apex Court are clear and emphasize the processes already laid down in the law for cleaning the voters’ register. The Supreme Court was of the view that these processes are ‘ample and sufficient’ to remove the names of ineligible and deceased persons from the register,” the release stressed.

However, Abu Ramadan, who was reacting to the EC’s press statement on local radio stations on Friday, expressed anger at the reaction of the EC, vowing to drag all seven Electoral Commissioners to court.

“The Supreme Court is clear in its ruling when it concluded that the current register of voters which contains the names of persons who have not established qualification to be registered is not reasonably accurate or credible,” Ramadan fumed.

Ghana goes to the poll in November to elect a president and new lawmakers. Enditem.

Source: Xinhua

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