Mornah Heads To Court Over ‘No Verification No Vote’

Bernard Mornah
The General Secretary of the People’s National Convention (PNC) Bernard Mornah is set to go court to challenge the provisions of the Constitutional Instrument (C.I) 75 which makes biometric verification a prerequisite for voting.

‘I have personally instructed my counsel and lawyers to take up the matter and I am sure that after the judicial break, we will seek a proper interpretation of the position of C.I 75 vis a vis no verification, no vote and the 1992 constitution,’ he said.

According to him , the ‘No Verification No Vote’ provision breaches article 42 of the 1992 constitution.

His decision comes on the back of a call from the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) on the Electoral Commission (EC) to maintain and enforce the  ‘no verification, no vote’ provision .

Mr. Mornah believes the confusion created by the two laws can only be resolved in court.

‘Article of the 42 of the 1992 constitution gives the specification and qualification that one must attain before you can vote and I think that CI 75 is an affront to Article 42 of the 1992 constitution. And as you aware, any subordinate law or any law that is inconsistent with the provisions 1992 constitution must be null and void,’ he explained.

But the General Secretary of the Progressive Peoples’ Party (PPP) Kofi Asamoah-Siaw insists all the political parties met with the IEA and agreed that the ‘no verification no vote’ condition should be fully implemented for subsequent elections.

The petitioners in the election petition (Nana Akufo-Addo, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia and New Patriotic Party) raised the issue of ‘no verification, no vote’ in the case at the Supreme Court.

In ruling, presiding judge Justice William Atuguba said ‘…The complaint about voting without biometric verification cannot, in addition to the foregoing reasons, therefore hold in the absence of some other contrary evidence…In the circumstances, I do not think that the petitioners have established their allegation of…voting without biometric verification, except to the limited extent admitted by the Chairman of the  Electoral Commission, which cannot impact much on the declared results.’

One of the other judges on the 9-member panel, Dotse JSC also opined that ‘… the claim on no biometric verification,…in my estimation, fails in its entirety…Having considered…the evidence of Dr Afari-Gyan on why the C3 column was initially created but later abandoned at the insistence of the political parties, I am left in no doubt that the whole contention of voting without biometric verification has not been properly made out.’

Bernard Mornah however fears the Supreme Court’s decision in the 2012 election petition may block the proper implementation of the regulation.

‘The difficulty we face as a political party is that how do you juxtapose the maintenance of that regulation in future CI with the ruling of the Supreme Court which says that verification or otherwise cannot preclude an 18 year old from voting.’

Bernard Mornah in April 2014, won a writ he filed at the Supreme Court seeking to nullify portions of the Constitutional Instrument 74.Rule 71B of C.I. 74 provides that the decision of the Supreme Court in respect of a petition presented to challenge the election of a President cannot be reviewed.But lawyers for Mr Mornah argued that ‘to the extent that Rule 71B of C.I. 74 seeks to extinguish the constitutional right in article 133 of the Constitution to seek a review of a decision of the Supreme Court in Presidential election petitions, same is unconstitutional, null and void, and of no effect.

The Court also declared as unconstitutional, Rule 71B of C.I 74 which bars parties in an election dispute or petition to apply to the highest court of the land for a review of its ruling.

Credit: Marian Efe Ansah|

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