NDC
NDC

The decision by the Wood Supreme Court that the names of all those who used their National Health Insurance Cards (or NHIS ID Cards) to register to vote in the 2012 general election should be scrapped from our National Voters’ Register (NVR) is a step in the right direction (See “SC Ruling Not Violation of ‘NHIS’ Voters’ Right – Attafuah” Classfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 5/7/16).

NDC
NDC

It is a step in the right direction because hundreds of thousands of non-Ghanaian nationals who ought not to have been issued NHIS Cards have, largely by foul and shady means, gained access to the same. Not only have such illegalities unduly overstretched our already overburdened healthcare services, a remarkable percentage of these illegal NHIS ID Card users are also widely known and suspected to have used these cards to compromise the integrity of the country’s electoral system, often with the brazen complicity of criminally minded Ghanaian political party apparatchiks.

Such criminal incidents as the foregoing are known to have massively occurred along Ghana’s border with Togo, and to a considerably lesser extent our western and northern borders with the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, respectively. Through meticulous forensic investigations of a team led by the 2016 Vice-Presidential Candidate of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, it has come to light that the prime beneficiaries of such patent electoral illegality are predominantly the key operatives of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC). Predictably, some members and paid hacks of the NDC are crying foul in the wake of the Supreme Court order. But, of course, we all know that it is the right thing for the Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei-chaired Electoral Commission (EC) to do. And there is absolutely nothing that these cynical and reprobate protesters can do about this most opportune ruling of the apex court. And that is the good news.

What the latest Supreme Court ruling means is that those who used their NHIS ID Cards to register to vote but can prove that they are bona fide Ghanaians citizens, will have to establish their citizenship through other legitimate and authentic means of identification, including the use of their birth certificates and the sworn testimonies of citizens to whom the nationality of any undocumented prospective registrants can be credibly ascertained. This new measure is likely to cause a remarkable reduction in the number of foreign nationals who may have illegally registered to vote in the country. But, of course, it will by no means effectively stanch this electoral illegality.

To be certain, other clever means, such as false testimonies, may be suavely used to skirt around the apex court’s decision. In such a case, it is only the utmost vigilance of patriotic members of the various political parties that stand to lose the most votes from such fraudulent activities that offers the most hope.

What this means is that it is imperative for representatives of at least the three or four largest political parties in the country to be present when testimonies in support of undocumented prospective voters claiming Ghanaian citizenship are being taken or deposed, else the new measures may well turn out to be an exercise in futility.

The Supreme Court’s decision may also be aptly envisaged to be an epic victory, albeit a vicarious one, for the former New Patriotic Party’s Member of Parliament for Bawku-Central, whose parliamentary election in 2012 was judicially invalidated and saw his expulsion from the august House. Mr. Adamu Dramani Sakande, who was also sentenced to a prison term, was recently issued an order of pardon by President John Dramani Mahama, on grounds of deteriorating health condition, has in the recent past challenged the legality of the register of voters who were registered by the Electoral Commission via the illegal use of NHIS Cards.

In Mr. Sakande’s case, however, the convicted former MP was found guilty on charges of illegally maintaining a dual-citizenship status at the time that he contested the Bawku-Central parliamentary seat. He had been accused of holding citizenships in Britain and Burkina Faso but not in Ghanaian. As of this writing, the EC Chairperson, Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei, was widely reported to have accepted the Supreme Court’s ruling in good faith and intended to strictly carry out the same.

Indeed, if the EC is able to successfully winnow out illegal voters and registrants, as ordered by the Supreme Court, Ghanaian democracy would be aptly envisaged to have inched positively towards the democratic ideal of fair play.

But even more significantly, it would also send a strong signal to those hell-bent on criminally prejudicing the outcome of our parliamentary and presidential elections that Ghanaian democracy has come of age and would not tolerate any dastardly attempt to reverse our political clock of advancement and progress.

Source: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
E-mail: [email protected]

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