Ahead of crucial elections later this year, Ghana’s Supreme Court has ordered the Electoral body to with immediate effect delete the names of some 56,000 people who registered with cards deemed by the court to be invalid.
The deletions are in respect of persons who used the country’s National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) cards as proof of their Ghanaian citizenship in the last registration exercise.
Tuesday’s directive follows a May 5, 2016 ruling in which the apex Court ordered the Electoral Commission (EC) to allow such persons who would be affected by the deletion to be re-registered using the right process.
That ruling however received varied interpretations with the EC stating that, the court had not ordered an outright deletion, an interpretation the court has dismissed with its current ruling.
The ruling followed a suit filed by two political players, one Abu Ramadan and Evans Nimako, who in 2014 won a lawsuit that barred the use of NHIS cards for registration. The two, among other reliefs, wanted the current register declared inappropriate for the November polls.
The court ordered the EC to produce a list of all persons who registered with the ‘invalid’ cards. The Commission presented the over 56,000 list yesterday and has now been ordered to delete all those names.
Ghana’s Judiciary and Elections
The judiciary, Ghana’s third arm of government is largely seen as the last stop with regards to electoral issues. It has over the years presided over cases of disagreement after polls.
The very recent, perhaps its biggest contribution to the advancement of Ghana’s electoral system was in 2013 when it heard a landmark election petition that was presented to it by the leading opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) which alleged that the 2012 polls were rigged.
The court empaneled 9 judges who sat in a televised process that spanned over eight months probing several witnesses including the electoral commissioner at the time. The process in the end affirmed the victory of incumbent John Dramani Mahama but gave directions for key changes to the electoral system.
Ghana’s electoral commission
Ghana’s electoral body has won global acclaim for organizing elections over the years, starting 1992 when the West African country transited from military rule and adopted the current constitution.
The EC has under its belt, six general elections that has seen the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) winning four times whiles the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has won two.
The upcoming elections, its seventh is seen as a straight contest between the president and the NPP’s Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo.