NDC sues EC over compilation of new voters’ register



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The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has sued the Electoral Commission over attempts by the electoral management body to compile a new voters’ register ahead of the 2020 general elections.

In the writ to invoke the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, the NDC among other things demanded for a “declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 45(a) of the 1992 Constitution, 2nd Defendant [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. Accordingly, 2nd Defendant can only revise the existing register of voters, and lacks the power to prepare a fresh register of voters, for the conduct of the December 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.”

Existing voter ID as proof of registration

Additionally, the NDC is demanding to rescind its decision to bar the use of old voter ID cards as registration proof in the compilation of the new register. It said the action is baseless and in breach of the constitution.

The party says a “declaration that the 2nd Defendant, in purporting to exercise its powers pursuant to article 51 of the 1992 Constitution to exclude the existing voter identification cards from the documents required as proof of identification to enable a person register as a voter without any justification is arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable and contrary to article 296 of the 1992 Constitution.

”Upon a true and proper interpretation of the Constitution, specifically, Article 42, the EC’s purported amendment of Regulation 1 sub-regulation 3 of the  Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2016 (C.I 91) through the Public Elections (Registration of Voters)(Amendment) Regulations, 2020 to exclude existing voter identification cards as proof of identification to enable a person apply for registration as a voter according to the NDC is “unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever”.

The EC in December 2019 made public its plans to abandon its current biometric verification system and procure a new one that has a facial recognition technology.

It has also planned to compile a new voters’ register ahead of the 2020 general elections, but the move has been fiercely opposed by a number of groups.

For instance, the Inter-Party Resistance Against the New Voter Register has in a number of demonstrations protested the EC’s decision but to no avail.

The EC has also made the Ghana Card and passport the only acceptable identification for the new voter registration, but the announcement has been received with mixed reaction.

Below is the writ:

IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF JUDICATURE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF GHANA

ACCRA – A.D. 2020

 

 

                                                                                                                     SUIT NO:

WRIT TO INVOKE THE ORIGINAL JURISDICTION OF THE SUPREME COURT

 

                                                                                                                   

BETWEEN:

 

          NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS                                              PLAINTIFF                

          H/NO 12, ADAMA STREET,ADABRAKA

          ACCRA

 

-AND-

  1. ATTORNEY GENRAL DEFENDANTS

ATTORNEY GENERAL DEPARTMENT

MINISTRIES, ACCRA

  1. ELECTORAL COMMISSION OF GHANA

NEAR RIDGE HOSPITAL

ACCRA                       

TO:

              ATTORNEY GENERAL

ELECTORAL COMMISSION

 

IN THE NAME OF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA, you are hereby commanded within fourteen (14) days after the service on you of the statement of the Plaintiff’s case inclusive of the day of service, that you are to file or cause to be filed for you a statement of the Defendant’s case in an action at the suit of:

NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS of Accra:

The nature of the reliefs sought is as follows:

  1. A declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 45(a) of the 1992 Constitution, 2nd Defendant 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. Accordingly, 2nd Defendant can only revise the existing register of voters, and lacks the power to prepare a fresh register of voters, for the conduct of the December 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.

OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE

  1. A declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution, specifically article 51 read conjointly with article 42 of the Constitution, the power of the 2nd Defendant to compile and review the voters’ register must be exercised subject to respect for and the protection of the right to vote;

 

  1. A declaration that, upon a true and proper interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution, particularly article 42, upon the registration of and issuance of a voter identification card to a person, that person has an accrued right to vote which cannot be divested in an arbitrary and capricious manner;

 

  1. A declaration that, upon a true and proper interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution, particularly Article 42 of the Constitution, all existing voter identification cards duly issued by the 2nd Defendant to registered voters are valid for purposes of identifying such persons in the exercise of their right to vote;

 

  1. A declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of the Constitution, specifically Article 42, the 2nd Defendant’s purported amendment of Regulation 1 subregulation 3 of the  Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2016 (C.I 91) through the Public Elections (Registration of Voters)(Amendment) Regulations, 2020 to exclude existing voter identification cards as proof of identification to enable a person apply for registration as a voter is unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever;

 

  1. A declaration that the 2nd Defendant, in purporting to exercise its powers pursuant to article 51 of the 1992 Constitution to exclude the existing voter identification cards from the documents required as proof of identification to enable a person register as a voter without any justification is arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable and contrary to article 296 of the 1992 Constitution;

 

  1. A declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of the Constitution specifically Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution, proof of identification for registration as a voter should not be limited by the provisions of Public Elections (Registration of Voters) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020;

 

  1. An order directed at the 2nd Defendant to include all existing voter identification cards duly issued by the 2nd Defendant as one of the documents serving as proof of identification for registration as a voter for the purposes of public elections;

 

  1. Any other order or orders as this Honorable Court would deem fit in the circumstances.

 

The Capacity in which the Plaintiff is bringing this action is as follows:

 

The Plaintiff brings this action in its capacity as a citizen of Ghana to seek the interpretation and/or enforcement of the provisions of the Constitution under Articles 2(1) (b) and 130(1) (a) thereof.

 

The address for service for the Plaintiff is as follows:

National Democratic Congress

H/No 12,Adama Street, Adabraka, Accra

 

The address for service of Counsel for the Plaintiff is as follows:

LAW OFFICES OF AYINE&FELLI

NO.C808/29 1ST CLOSE LILY STREET,

EAST LEGON, ACCRA

 

The names and addresses of persons affected by this writ is as follows:

ATTORNEY GENERAL

ELECTORAL COMMISSION

DATED AT ACCRA THIS 19TH  DAY OF MARCH, 2020

 

…………………………………

GODWIN KUDZO TAMEKLO

LAWYER FOR THE PLAINTIFF

 LIN NO.e GAR02107/20

THE REGISTRAR,

SUPREME COURT,

ACCRA.

AND FOR SERVICE ON:

ATTORNEY GENERAL

THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION

ACCRA

 

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