EC'S DELIBERATE FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH SC'S ORDER MAY PLUNGE THE COUNTRY INTO CHAOS
The Supreme Court ordered the EC to delete from the electoral roll, names of all dead people and persons who used the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) card to register to vote. This, according to the Court is because the register in its current form is not reasonably credible. The apex court also ordered the EC to allow those whose names will be removed because they used the NHIS card as proof of citizenship to register, an opportunity to re-register if they qualify. The court also asked the EC to remove from the register all minors who registered in the last elections in 2012.
The EC contrary stated that, those names would not be removed based on their own understanding and interpretation of the court order. Justice Jones Dotse, a member of the Supreme Court panel later explained the court’s decision.
“The Supreme Court was quite forthright and clear that the use of the NHIS cards is unconstitutional. The criteria for the NHIS cards were not based on Ghanaian citizenship but only on residents in Ghana. So, any foreigner who is resident in Ghana for six months and more can register under the NHIS card. That was the basis upon which we base our decision in 2014. And in the recent one, we said the use of the NHIS is, therefore, unconstitutional. [The EC] should take the opportunity to clean the register of those undesirable persons. We also did not want to disenfranchise anybody so the Supreme Court went on to say that anybody who will be affected by that exercise must be given the opportunity to register, according to the law and constitution.”
This is very clear, emphatic and unambiguous. Is it not surprising for the EC to claim that the Supreme Court did not order the removal of NHIS registrants?
The EC understands what it is supposed to do but has made a conscious decision to disobey the court's order.
The EC with their deliberate non-compliance in mind, have argued that no law exists for expunging NHIS registrants from the voters’ register and they intend to fully follow the applicable laws. But what are the applicable laws of Ghana when it comes to the Voters’ Register? The first is the 1992 Constitution, followed by valid Constitutional Instruments issued by the EC to regulate the organization and management of elections and finally secondary legislation (case laws) regarding election disputes (that is, electoral disputes rulings by the High, Appeal and Supreme Courts).
In any case, when Supreme Court makes a ruling it is in itself a law, so what law again are they waiting to follow?
Article 46 of the 1992 Constitution states that “Except as provided in this Constitution or in any other law not inconsistent with this Constitution, in the performance of its functions, the Electoral Commission, shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority.” Article 45 clause A also states that “the EC shall compile the register of voters and revise it at such periods as may be determined by law.” The above quotes from the 1992 Constitution indicate that the EC must comply with the apex court’s ruling. The independence of the EC is as far as its acts and omissions are within the 1992 Constitution and not above and therefore subject to a review by the judiciary.
We have these few questions for the EC to answer.
1. If the EC is still uncertain as to the accurate interpretation of the court order, can’t the EC go back to the same court for further clarification?
2. Does the EC know failure to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling is contemptuous?
3. Is the EC saying court did not order the removal of registrants with NHIS card or the court ordered the removal of registrants with NHIS card but there is no applicable law for the Commission to remove such names?
4. If the EC is saying that they have no laws to help it comply with the Supreme Court’s decision, can’t they (EC) pass the law that would make it act as such?
The EC must not be reluctant because we have 5 months to the proposed election date. Law imposes a mandatory freeze on any modification of the active register for this year’s elections, 60 days before voting which means, the EC has three months for the deletion, re-registration and exhibition exercises should the elections be organized on November 7 this year.
IS THE EC ABOVE THE LAW TO DISOBEY SUPREME COURT'S ORDER?
EC cannot render Supreme Court’s decision null and void.
EC must not plunge the country into chaos.
EC must not express their selfish interest over peace of this country.
EC must not do things their own way to suit themselves.
We are finally appealing to the EC to take immediate and necessary steps to clean the voters’ register of the dead, minors and registrants with NHIS card and stop the deliberate action to usurp the court orders. They must do this to ensure peaceful elections.
We stand for peace.
We stand for justice.
Without justice there can never be peace.
ADUSEI ASENSO EMMANUEL
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NUHU SAMIWU MAHAMA
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