The presidential candidate of the opposition NDC says the party disagrees with the Supreme Court’s ruling on the compilation of a new voter register for the December polls. At a press briefing after a seven-member panel gave the Electoral Commission the greenlight to compile a new electoral roll, the former president said his party is dissatisfied with the ruling.
“Despite the well-reasoned reliefs we sought, the apex court of our land has given a leeway for the Electoral Commission to go ahead with the exclusion of the existing voter identification card from the list of identification requirement for the registration of the new register. “We are deeply disappointed and we sternly disagree with the court over this outcome which has confounded many legal experts and indeed has thrown the whole country into a state of confusion,” he added.
The Supreme Court in a unanimous decision on Thursday has ruled that the Electoral Commission has the power to compile a new register. This comes after a private citizen, Mark Takyi-Banson and the opposition NDC filed the case in court asking that it stops the EC from compiling the register or allow the use of the birth certificate and voters ID card by prospective voters as proof of identification.
The Commission in its legal arguments says the existing voter register which was compiled in 2012 and has since been revised by limited exercises has been held by the apex court as not being reasonably credible. The court in its decision held that the EC is an independent body and will only be directed by the court if it acts contrary to law.
Mr Mahama said they had hoped that the ruling would be different. However, while they await the full reasons for the judgement the party’s legal team is examining the decision.The former president nonetheless said “it is also worrying that the court deferred the reasons for its decision to the 15 July, a date by which time the EC would have been two weeks into the said registration exercise.”
Attack on government
Turning his attention to government on its supposed interference in the electoral process, Mr Mahama noted how the NDC has, since its formation stood strongly for an inclusive democracy. This for him, is because the NDC is built on principles that no one should be left out in the governance process of Ghana.
“This principle may be seen through the various programmes and projects upon which our democracy is built, the composition of the Consultative Assembly which prepared the 1992 Constitution. “The consultations of the review of the Constitution in 2010 which stands out as the most comprehensive consultative programme in our history and the sub region,” he added.
According to him, this is not the case for the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) whose members since founding have always stood for an exclusive governance structure. “A structure which seeks to leave out the ordinary men and women of our country. One which rather favours a select-elite few who consider themselves as owners of the nation.
“To ensure this, the NPP has since the assumption of office in 2017 consistently put in place measures which seeks to systematically disenfranchise eligible citizens of this nation. Such measures include, restricting the identification mechanism for voter registration to documents which are not accessible currently to millions of eligible Ghanaian voters.” He said the NDC is clear in their minds that the decision to compile a new voters’ register was in pursuit of this long held agenda, hence their efforts to exclude a vast section the population from the process to determine who leads them.
“This represent the handiwork of a desperate incumbent that on account of its very poor performance in government sees its very political survival only through the prism of manipulation of the electoral process to exclude a session of Ghanaians who they suspect may not renew their mandate at the polls.
“A caring, compassionate government will not push us to the brink at the time of a major pandemic such as Covid-19, that is causing so much anguish among our citizens,” Mr Mahama said.