Produce NHIS Card holders Supreme Court orders EC

The Supreme Court has ordered the Electoral Commission (EC) to submit in writing the full list of persons who used the National Health Insurance Scheme Cards to register, as per their registration forms which are in the exclusive custody of the Commission.

The EC has further been asked to clearly set out in writing, the steps or modalities it intends to take in order to ensure full compliance with the court’s order made on May 5, 2016.

The two orders above (ie 1 and 2) are to be complied with by the Electoral Commission on or before June 29, 2016.  Consequently, this matter is adjourned to June 30, 2016, at 1.00 pm.

Mrs. Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, gave the order yesterday when the court began to hear a motion filed by Abu Ramadan, a former National Youth Organiser, of the People’s National Convention (PNC), seeking clarification on the Supreme Court judgement that ordered the EC to clean the voters register by deleting names of unqualified persons.

The delay in implementing the judgement of May 5, 2016, by “cleaning” the existing voters’ register to pave way for the conduct of a free, fair, credible and transparent elections in the November polls, resulted in the issuance of the interim order by the court to the Electoral Commission.

Mrs. Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, said the Commission should treat the directive with the urgency that it deserved because the EC stood the risk of facing a severest punishment in accordance with Article 2 clause 4 of the 1992 Constitution in default.

The Article 2 (4) states “ Failure to obey or carry out the terms of an order or direction made or given under clause (2) of this Article constitutes a high crime under this constitution and shall, in the case of the President or the Vice-President, constitute a ground for removal from office under this constitution”.

She said that Ghanaians needed peace before, during and after elections and for that matter the court would not indulge in acts that could plunge the nation into bloodbath.

“Time is running out and the Electoral Commission should be open, transparent and forthright.  We should all have the interest of the nation at heart since the judges want a credible, peaceful, transparent, free and fair elections in the country”, the Chief Justice said

Abu Ramadan, a former National Youth Organiser of the People’s National Convention, had earlier won a case against the EC on the ineligibility of people who used the National Health Insurance Scheme cards to register.

By so doing, he considered the Register of Voters not to be credible because it contained the names of dead people, and minors alongside those who had used the NHIS Cards in the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections, and that the same old register could not be used for this year’s general election.

And for the sake of peace in the country, the Supreme Court on May 5, this year, ordered the EC to take immediate steps to delete the names of all unqualified persons from the current register of voters to make it “Clean and Credible” for the conduct of this year’s polls.

Sadly, the EC has not been able to seemingly live up to expectation though it had already met the various political parties at the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meetings and spelt out how it (EC) was taking the necessary steps to implement the Supreme Court judgement.

And not satisfied with the snail’s pace method adopted by the EC to clean the register, Mr. Abu Ramadan yet again filed a writ on June 14, 2016, seeking clarification of what the Supreme Court meant by “that the Electoral Commission takes steps immediately to delete or as is popularly known “clean” the current register of voters to comply with the provisions of the 1992 Constitution, and applicable laws of Ghana.

“That any person whose name is deleted from the register of voter of the Electoral Commission pursuant to the order above be given the opportunity to register under the law”.

And when the counsel for the Applicant (Abu Ramadan) Nana Asante Bediatuo told the Court of the EC’s “slow motion” implementation of the judgement with regard to the “cleaning” of the register for the upcoming polls, Mrs. Justice Wood called the Deputy Chairman in-charge of Corporate Service Mrs. Georgina Opoku Amankwa to find out when the commission would implement the Supreme Court’s Judgement but there was no satisfactory response.

This, however, compelled Mr. Justice Anin Yeboah to remind the defendants (EC) of the seriousness of Article 2 clause (4) of the 1992 Constitution under which the EC was brought back to the Supreme Court.

He said that the order of the Supreme Court superseded any other activities and warned the commission to comply.

Mr. Justice S.N. Gbadegbe also said “We the Supreme Court Judges will not allow this country to go the way other countries have gone because of election”.

Mr. Justice Jones Dotse recused himself and Mr. Justice J.B. Akamba also could not take part in the hearing of the motion because,  he had retired and that the yesterday’s motion was filed when he was no longer in active service, according to the Chief Justice.

The two other panel members were Justices A.A. Benin and Paul Baffoe Bonney. Mrs. Georgina Wood later adjourned the case to June 30, 2016, at 1.oo pm. saying “We are here to do substantial justice to all Ghanaians”.

By Castro Zangina-Tong

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