NDC’s old voter ID card case against EC SC stops Imani … from joining case as ‘friend of court’

The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday dismissed an application filed by policy think-tank, Imani Africa, seeking to provide expert knowledge to the court, to enable it determine the case in which the National Democratic  Congress (NDC) is challenging the decision of the Electoral Commission (EC) to exclude the existing voters identification card in the upcoming mass registration exercise.

Imani, Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA), Conservative Policy Research Centre, Institute for Liberty and Policy Innovation, filed an amicus brief last Friday, concerning the issue before the court, albeit not parties to the case.

But, the seven-member panel of judges, presided by the Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah, dismissed the application on grounds that it was not supported by law.

It was the considered view of the court that Imani Africa, in seeking to be a friend of the court was not neutral.

Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie told counsel for the policy think-tank, Mr Akwasi Agyemang, that, “You are supporting one party and not a friend of the court. If you had read the reliefs you wouldn’t have filed the amicus, you are not neutral.”

When the Chief Justice asked whether counsel had read the reliefs, counsel said he had only read the affidavit. 

Judgement on the case was due yesterday, but the court had to adjourn to today, because another person had sued the EC asking the court to grant reliefs which are constitutionally similar to that of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

So far, the NDC and two others, including the Member of Parliament for Ashaiman Constituency, Mr Ernest Norgbey have filed different lawsuits ultimately seeking varying reliefs by praying the court to compel the EC to accept the existing voters identification card as a proof of identity.

Mark  Takyi Cosby, the second applicant,  wanted the SC to declare that the EC could not only compile a voters register once and subsequently revise it.

The two cases were consolidated last Friday and the plaintiff was asked to file his witness statement on Monday, June 23.

The court also asked the defendants to file their statement of case before the close of work on Tuesday June 24.

On March 26, 2020, the NDC dragged the Attorney-General and the EC to the apex court over the decision by the Commission to compile a fresh electoral roll for the December 7, 2020 polls.

The EC had stated that it would compile a new voters register for the 2020 general election because the existing register was incurably defective for purpose.

But the NDC, insisted that the exclusion of existing voters ID card as a form of identification to obtain a new voters ID card was unconstitutional. 

In its writ which seeks to invoke the original jurisdiction of the SC, the NDC asked the court to declare that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 45(a) of the 1992 Constitution, the EC has the constitutional power to, and can, compile a register of voters only once, and thereafter revise it periodically, as may be determined by law.

The plaintiff urged the court to order the EC to include all existing voter identification cards duly issued by the EC as one of the documents serving as proof of identification for registration for the purposes of public elections.


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