Lawyers for Abu Ramadan, the former People’s National Convention (PNC) Youth Organizer, have withdrawn a suit requesting the Supreme Court to declare the current voter register null and void for the impending general election.
The lawyers, led by Nana Asante Bediatuo, said the decision was to enable them amend their previous suit in respect of some additional information they had gathered from the Electoral Commission (EC).
The nine-member panel of judges, presided over by Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, subsequently granted the request and struck out the case with the chance to re-file.
The PNC member and one Evans Nimako, citing the Attorney General (AG) as second defendant to the action, wanted the court to set aside the 2012 voter register and compel the EC to compile a fresh one before any new public election or referendum is conducted in the country.
The two, in the writ filed by their lawyers -Ampem Chambers – in December 2015, were praying the court to declare “the 2012 voter register which contains the names of persons who have not established qualification to be registered as inconsistent with Article 42 and 45(a) and therefore unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect.”
The plaintiffs also wanted a declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 45(a) of the 1992 Constitution, the mandate of the EC to compile the register of voters implies a duty to compile fair and transparent register.
According to the plaintiffs, the Supreme Court’s ruling that the National Health Insurance Card was an illegal form of identification for the voter register further strengthened their suit.
The suit followed the Electoral Commission’s rejection of a request by the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) to compile a new register because according to them, the current one is flawed with names of foreigners and minors.
Abu Ramadan was seeking the following reliefs:
- A declaration that the 2012 Voters Register which contains the names of persons who have not established qualification to be registered is inconsistent with Article 42 and 45 (a) and therefore unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect.
- An order setting aside the 2012 Voters Register and compelling the Electoral Commission to compile fresh Voters Register before any new public election or referendum is conducted in this country.
By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson