General News of Monday, 4 January 2016
A legal practitioner Nana Asante Bediatuo says time and money are no excuse for the Electoral Commission not to compile a new voters’ register.
Nana Bediatuo who is in court challenging the decision by the Electoral Commission to use the current register in the 2016 election says the EC can use three weeks if it is minded.
Citing the Nigerian and Kenyan examples, he said those countries managed to compile new registers in 21 days because they know how sensitive the issue of voters’ register is to their countries.
He said even in Ghana, all the registration exercises done in the past took three weeks. He added that instead of concentrating on time and money the country should be looking at having a clean, accurate register.
“We cannot appeal to time and say we should do it anyhow,” he stated.
The Electoral Commission has shot down a proposal by the New Patriotic Party and other pressure groups for the compilation of a new register.
The proponents for a new register claim it is bloated with names of minors, non Ghanaians, dead people etc.
But the Commission said the arguments for a new register were not convincing. The Commission also questioned the basis on which it has been taken to court.
The former Youth Organiser of the People National Convention Abu Ramadan proceeded to court to challenge the decision by the EC to use the current register.
Among the claims by Ramadan was that the EC, at some point, used the NHIA cards as proof of identification before registering the people but the Supreme Court later ruled the use of the cards were illegal and should be declared null and void.
But the EC says nowhere in the ruling did the court nullify all registration of voters who presented NHIA cards as proof of citizenship.
Nana Asante Bediatuo who is lawyer for Abu Ramadan said the EC position is a “symptom of their misunderstanding of the whole case.”
He argued the EC stopped using the NHIA cards because the court said it was unconstitutional and therefore “the regulation (Regulation 1 3b CI 72) which allowed citizens who wanted to register to use the NHIA card, was declared unconstitutional because it did not establish the citizenship of the person registering, then of course everything that is based in that regulation, including the registration is also null and void.
“It is a simple legal analysis,” he said.
He also dismissed claims that the nullification of Regulation 1 3 b of CI72 cannot take retrospective effect.