The flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama says the party is disappointed in the Supreme Court’s ruling.
He said the party disagrees with the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the Electoral Commission (EC) to exclude the voter ID card and birth certificates from the list of identification documents needed to register to be able to vote in the December polls.
At a press conference on Thursday, June 25, 2020, the former president maintained that the party vehemently opposes the outcome of the case it [NDC] filed at the Supreme Court.
“Despite the well-reasoned reliefs we sought, the apex court of the land gave the leeway for the Electoral Commission to go ahead with the exclusion of the existing voter identification cards from the list of identification requirements. We are deeply disappointed and strongly disagree with the court over this outcome, which has confounded many legal experts and thrown the country into a state of confusion,” he said.
According to Mr. Mahama, the legal team of the NDC “is examining this decision even as we await the full judgement”.
July 15 reason date worrying
The NDC leader also expressed worry over the Court’s time frame to provide the reasons for its ruling by Wednesday, July 15, 2020.
“It is worrying that the Court deferred the reasons for its decisions to the 15th of July, by which time the EC would have been two weeks into the registration exercise.”
The Supreme Court ruling
On Thursday, June 25, 2020, the Supreme Court of Ghana ruled that the existing voter ID card and birth certificates cannot be used as proof of identity to register in the upcoming voter registration exercise.
The seven-member panel also cleared the Electoral Commission to go ahead and compile a new voters’ register for the 2020 general elections.
However, the General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketia shortly after the ruling proclaimed that the existing voter ID card will now be accepted by the EC for the registration exercise and that, they have been vindicated.
The apex court stressed that the EC was exercising its discretion in the discharge of its constitutional mandate in cleaning the voters register and “should be deemed as authorized to be acting within the law and the regulations therein, and cannot be faulted even if it is considered that there is a more efficient mode or method available.”
It held that the EC “in performing their mandate under Article 45 of the Constitution 1992 cannot be compelled to act in a particular manner unless there is clear evidence that they have acted unconstitutionally.”
Beyond this, the Supreme Court reminded that it could not make decisions for a constitutional body like the EC which was “exercising the discretion conferred on it by the Constitution unless they act contrary to it.”
Why the NDC went to court
The NDC was 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.
It argued 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.
The party felt this amendment will lead to many Ghanaians being disenfranchised.