Former President John Mahama has said the National Democratic Congress (NDC) “strongly” disagrees with the “disappointing” verdict of the Supreme Court in the party’s case against the Electoral Commission.
“Earlier today, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Ghana gave its ruling in a case brought by the National Democratic Congress against the Electoral Commission over its decision to compile a new voter register. Despite the well-reasoned reliefs we sought, the apex court of the land gave the leeway for the Electoral Commission to go ahead with the exclusion of the existing voter identification cards from the list of identification requirements”, Mr Mahama said at a late night press conference on Thursday.
“We are deeply disappointed and strongly disagree with the court over this outcome, which has confounded many legal experts and thrown the country into a state of confusion”, he said.
According to him, “Our legal team is examining this decision even as we await the full judgement”.
The flag bearer of the NDC also said: “It is worrying that the court deferred the reasons for its decisions to the 15th of July, by which time the EC would have been two weeks into the registration exercise”.
The Supreme 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.