The current voter ID card cannot be used by the Electoral Commission of Ghana to compile a new register of voters, the Supreme Court has decided.
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 is, thus, a rejection of the 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 puts a stop to all other suits concerning the matter.
The MP Ashaiman, Mr Ernest Norgbey, recently filed a similar suit against the EC at the High Court.
NDC Claims Verdict In Its Favour
Right after the verdict, the General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, told journalists that the Supreme Court's decision is in favour of the party and Mr Takyi-Banson.
He said: “We just came out of the Supreme Court and the court has just delivered a verdict, which has granted our request for the inclusion of the existing voter card as a breeder document for the compilation of the register and I think that we’re most grateful”.
“We think that this is the most substantive issue for which we came to court, so, we’ll get back to the office and we’ll address a full-blown press conference on the consequential matters arising”, he said.
He said the apex court’s decision has shown the NDC had been right in pushing for the inclusion of the old card in compiling a new voter roll.
“We feel vindicated because the court itself, in an earlier ruling, has clearly stated that the possession of an existing voter ID card means that the holder is a citizen of Ghana, who is qualified to be registered and exercise his or her powers and, so, the court couldn’t have gone back on its own earlier ruling and it did also admit that the right to vote, once it accrues to a person, cannot be taken back in a whimsical and capricious manner in which the Electoral Commission sought to do”.