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15 June 2016

Abu Ramadan back in Supreme Court over voters’ register

Former National Youth Organizer of PNC, Abu RamadanFormer National Youth organizer of the Peoples National Convention, (PNC) Abu Ramadan, has returned to the Supreme Court to seek further clarification on the court’s May 5 ruling which supposedly ordered the Electoral Commission to remove names of persons who were registered on the nation’s electoral roll, with the National Health Insurance card (NHIS) as a form of identification.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, Abu Ramadan said the current suit is to “ask the court to give further direction on its [May 5] ruling.”

Abu Ramanadan had previously served notice he will be forced to cite the EC for contempt if the commission fails to implement the order by the Supreme Court.

Background

The apex court on May 5, asked the Electoral Commission to expunge from the current voters’ register the names of all persons who registered and voted in the 2012 elections, with the National Health Insurance card as a proof of identity.

The ruling followed a suit filed by a former National Youth Organizer of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Abu Ramadan, and one, 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.

But the EC after studying the ruling said it’s understanding does not suggest the use of any new process to delete the names of those who registered with NHIS cards, since there are already laid down procedures for expunging ineligible names.

The EC’s explanation however angered Mr. Ramadan who felt the Commission was disrespecting the explicit orders of the court.

His position was further strengthened when one of the judges who gave the May 5 ruling, stated categorically that the ruling was clear and unambiguous and that the EC must removed the names of persons who registered with the NHIS card.

Suit filed today [Tuesday]

Abu Ramadan told host of Eyewitness News, Richard Dela Sky that “we are back in court in fulfillment of our promise to make sure that the Electoral Commission really implements fully the orders of the court. Today my lawyers happily were able to complete the processes of filing and we are waiting hopefully, tomorrow or Friday to get the hearing date for the substantive matter.”

He explained that “we decided to go to court to ask the court to give us further direction on the ruling it gave. That is to say that, as the court has ordered, based on that, the court should give us further direction.”

“If we go through that process and that is done and the Commission still refuses to implement the orders of the court, then clearly the issue of contempt of court wouldn’t be ambiguous anymore in the minds of anybody again,” he added.

We won’t stop suing EC

Abu Ramadan who argued that he and his colleague; Evans Nimako are not harassing the EC with the suits said they will only halt such actions “when they [EC] decide that they are going to give the Ghanaian people a credible register, credible voting process and a more credible and satisfying electoral process.”

NPP Chairmen sue for removal of NHIS registrants from register
On June 10 this year, three Regional Chairmen of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), in the Upper East, Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Regions, also filed a fresh suit at the Supreme Court, asking it to compel the Electoral Commission (EC) to furnish them with the list of all persons who registered with NHIS cards nationwide.

The Regional Chairmen say their request has become necessary in the light of the Supreme Court’s order in the Abu Ramadan case, directing the EC to expunge such names from the voters’ register.

Ghana goes to the polls in November, barely five months away.

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