Monday, 24 January

7 Zebilla residents sue EC for changing registration date in 13 centres

EC Chair Jean Mensa

The Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana has been sued by seven persons in the Zebilla Constituency of the Upper East Region for changing the voter registration date for some 13 centres to August 2020.

The plaintiffs, who argue that the 13 centres in question are supposed to be part of the 30 June to 5 July 2020 cluster where the registration is currently taking place, are praying the court for an interlocutory injunction on the process.

They say they do not understand why the EC, willy-nilly, changed the date to 1 – 6 August 2020.

The plaintiffs are being represented by Mr John Ndebugre, a former MP for the Constituency.

The EC has had to battle a lot of court cases all the way up to the Supreme Court before getting the nod to start the registration process.

Only a week ago, the Supreme Court determined that the EC cannot use the current voter ID card to compile a new register of voters.

The same court also said birth certificates cannot be used for the same purpose.

The court, in its verdict on Thursday, 25 June 2020, said: “It is hereby ordered that all stakeholders and the Ghanaian eligible voters are directed to comply with Articles 42 and 45 of the Constitution”, as far as carrying out their constitutional mandate in the compilation of a new register of voters is concerned.

Per Article 42, “Every citizen of Ghana of 18 years of age or above and of sound mind has the right to vote and is entitled to be registered as a voter for the purposes of public elections and referenda.”

Article 45 defines the EC’s mandate as follows: “The Electoral Commission shall have the following functions. (a) to compile the register of voters and revise it at such periods as may be determined by law; (b) to demarcate the electoral boundaries for national and local government elections; (c) to conduct and supervise all public elections and referenda; (d) to educate the people on the electoral process and its purpose; (e) to undertake programmes for the expansion of the registration of voters; and (f) to perform such other functions as may be prescribed by law”.

The apex court’s decision was, thus, a rejection of a prayer by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and private citizen Mark Takyi-Banson, for the court to compel the election management body to include the existing voter card as a breeder document for the compilation of a new voter roll apart from the Ghana card and passport.

The verdict of the highest court of the land also put a stop to all other suits concerning the matter.

The MP Ashaiman, Mr Ernest Norgbey, had recently filed a similar suit against the EC at the High Court, which was subsequently dismissed.