Ghana’s Supreme Court will, tomorrow, Thursday, 25 June 2020, give its verdict on a case before it about whether or not the Electoral Commission can go ahead to compile a new voter roll without using the existing voter ID card as a breeder document.
The seven-member panel of justices, presided over by Chief Justice Anin Yeboah, set the date on Wednesday, 24 June 2020 after dismissing an amicus brief filed by four policy think tanks through which they sought to join a consolidated case in which the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and a Ghanaian citizen, Mark Takyi Banson, are asking the apex court to prevent the EC from excluding the current voter ID card from the voter roll compilation exercise.
The four think tanks are IMANI Africa, Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASPEA), Conservative Policy Research Center (CPRC) and Institute for Liberty and Policy Innovation (ILAPI).
According to the bench, the amicus brief filed by the think tanks did not necessarily bring anything new to the case and previous utterances in the media landscape by the CSOs suggest that they are supportive of one party in the case and hence cannot be a neutral party.
The bench also wondered why the think tanks had not shown interest in the first writ regarding the NDC vs Attorney General and EC, which also sought similar reliefs.
Meanwhile, opposition MP Ernest Norgbey has also filed a suit at the high court challenging the EC’s plan to compile a new register.
The Ashaiman lawmaker is praying the court to restrain the election management body from going ahead to do so.
His lawyers filed the suit on Tuesday, 23 June 2020.
It is the third such action against the EC’s attempt to compile a new register.
Also, the flag bearer of the NDC, former President John Mahama, recently asked all Ghanaians to go out and register when the EC begins its voter compilation exercise by the end of June.
Speaking to some community folk at Tongor in the South Dayi area of the Volta Region, Mr Mahama urged the chiefs and traditional leaders of the area to encourage their subjects to take part in the registration exercise so that they can vote in the 7 December 2020 polls.
“I want to remind all our citizens that this year is an election year. The Electoral Commission has decided that it wants to conduct a registration exercise. We had disagreements with the Electoral Commission on what register to use and the matter has been at the Supreme Court and we are waiting for the Supreme Court for its verdict”, Mr Mahama said.
“Whatever verdict the Supreme Court gives, we are ready to be law-abiding citizens, so, we shall respect the verdict of the court”, he noted.
“But whatever the verdict is, there is going to be a registration exercise whether a limited registration, new registration exercise, or validation of an existing register”, he observed.
“Whichever registration it is, I will like to plead with Togbui to beat the gong gong to all our people to come out and register so that in December, they can register and exercise their votes”, he implored.
In a Facebook Live session on Thursday, 18 June 2020, Mr Mahama spoke on the NDC v. EC case, and said: “Our party has been the vanguard of a fight to prevent the disenfranchisement of a wide swathe of the citizens of this country”.
“We recognise that our opponents are determined to suppress votes in areas of the country they deem not to be their strongholds, otherwise it is difficult to understand some of the restrictions being put in the way of a wider enfranchisement of all eligible Ghanaian voters”, he noted.
He added: “We await the verdict of the Supreme Court and it is our hope that whatever verdict is given would be in the national interest to promote the wider participation of our citizens in our democratic process rather than a restriction to an elite few”.