Supreme Court of Ghana

The Supreme Court will today, Thursday, June 25, 2020, deliver its judgment on the consolidated case against the Electoral Commission [EC] on the compilation of a new voters’ register.

Ghana’s largest opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), is before the Court asking for a declaration on the existing voter ID card as a valid proof of identity for the purposes of voter registration.

The party argues that the existing voter ID card remains a valid proof of citizenship per the Court’s own earlier decision, as such cannot be excluded from the required documents one can rely on to register in the June 30 voter registration exercise.

A private citizen, Mark Takyi-Banson is also, at the same time, asking the Court to declare as unconstitutional the exclusion of the birth certificate from the list of documents a qualified voter can rely on to enroll onto the electoral roll.

He also wants the court to declare the Electoral Commission’s decision to compile an entirely new voters’ register as unconstitutional.

The Court will be constituted by Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah as President, Justices Jones Dotse, Paul Baffoe Bonnie, Sule Gbadegbe, Samuel Marful-Sau, Nene Amegatcher, and Professor Ashie Kotey

Dismissal of amicus brief

Already, the apex Court has dismissed an application filed by policy think-tank IMANI Africa and some other civil society groups seeking to be considered as friends of the court in the case.

This was after the EC Chairperson, Jean Adukwei Mensa in a counter-motion to what had been filed by IMANI and the CSOs said the Supreme Court should reject the request as she believes that their involvement will not add any value to the case but rather delay proceedings.

However, the Court presided over by Chief Justice Anin Yeboah, agreed with the Deputy Attorney General and dismissed the application saying the processes as filed the groups were not supported by law.

How we got here

On June 9, Parliament voted to allow the EC to use the Ghana Card and Passports as the only forms of identification for persons registering to vote after relevant Constitutional Instrument had matured.

The EC presented the Public Election (Amendment) Regulation, 2020 (C.I. 126) to Parliament to amend C.I. 91 in order to change the current identification requirements.

But the NDC feels this amendment will lead to many Ghanaians being disenfranchised.

The EC however submitted its legal justification for the amendment and described the old voter ID as “a fruit from a poisoned tree” and a breach of Article 42 of the constitution, which defines who is qualified to register to vote.

The Commission cited the court’s judgement in the Abu Ramadan case, where it indicated that the use of the National Health Insurance Card to register a voter is inconsistent with Article 42 of the constitution and therefore void.

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