Electoral Commissioners

Opposition MP Ernest Norgbey has filed a suit at the high court challenging the Electoral Commission’s plan to compile a new register of voters ahead of the 7 December 2020 polls.

The Ashaiman lawmaker is praying the court to restrain the election management body from going ahead to do so.

His lawyers filed the suit on Tuesday, 23 June 2020.

It is the third such action against the EC’s attempt to compile a new register.

The Supreme Court, on Friday, 19 June 2020, adjourned indefinitely its verdict on a similar case filed by Mr Norgbey’s party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) against the EC.

The verdict was expected on Tuesday, 23 Jun3 2020 but after the same court heard a similar suit against the EC filed by private citizen Mark Takyi-Benson, the seven-member panel of justices asked the Attorney General to consolidate both cases.

The court asked Mr Takyi-Banson and his team of lawyers to file their statement of case by mid-day of Monday, 22 June 2020 while the AG’s Department was to file its statement of case by Tuesday, 23 June 2020.

The parties will then be in court on Wednesday, 24 June 2020 for a hearing.

Mr Takyi-Banson sued the EC for excluding the current voter ID card from the upcoming registration exercise.

Parliament recently passed the Public Election (Amendment) Regulation, 2020 (C.I. 126) to amend C.I.91 making the passport and Ghana card as the only breeder documents that can be used to register as a voter.

Mr Takyi-Banson is praying the court to grant an order directing that C.I.126 violates the provisions of article 42 and 45 of the 1992 Constitution to the extent that it excludes Birth Certificates issued to Ghanaians as a mode of identification and establishing qualification to be registered in the register of voters.

The plaintiff is also seeking a similar relief for the voter ID card as well as a declaration that the Electoral Commission’s decision to compile a new register of voters is “inconsistent with and a violation of article 45(a) of the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana.”

Meanwhile, the flag bearer of the NDC, former President John Mahama, has asked all Ghanaians to go out and register when the EC begins its voter compilation exercise by the end of June.

Speaking to some community folk at Tongor in the South Dayi area of the Volta Region, Mr Mahama urged the chiefs and traditional leaders of the area to encourage their subjects to take part in the registration exercise so that they can vote in the 7 December 2020 polls.

“I want to remind all our citizens that this year is an election year. The Electoral Commission has decided that it wants to conduct a registration exercise. We had disagreements with the Electoral Commission on what register to use and the matter has been at the Supreme Court and we are waiting for the Supreme Court for its verdict”, Mr Mahama said.

“Whatever verdict the Supreme Court gives, we are ready to be law-abiding citizens, so, we shall respect the verdict of the court”, he noted.

“But whatever the verdict is, there is going to be a registration exercise whether a limited registration, new registration exercise, or validation of an existing register”, he observed. 

“Whichever registration it is, I will like to plead with Togbui to beat the gong gong to all our people to come out and register so that in December, they can register and exercise their votes”, he implored.

In a Facebook Live session on Thursday, 18 June 2020, Mr Mahama spoke on the NDC v. EC case, and said: “Our party has been the vanguard of a fight to prevent the disenfranchisement of a wide swathe of the citizens of this country”.

“We recognise that our opponents are determined to suppress votes in areas of the country they deem not to be their strongholds, otherwise it is difficult to understand some of the restrictions being put in the way of a wider enfranchisement of all eligible Ghanaian voters”, he noted.

He added: “We await the verdict of the Supreme Court and it is our hope that whatever verdict is given would be in the national interest to promote the wider participation of our citizens in our democratic process rather than a restriction to an elite few”.

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