08 July 2016

‘Atuguba is engaging in legal gymnastics’ – Law lecturer

Dr. Raymond Atuguba’s latest article on the Supreme Court order to delete illegal names in the voters register, has been dismissed as an attempt at legal gymnastics.

Law lecturer, Dr. Poku Adusei told Joy News that his colleague lecturer, Dr Atuguba analysis of the latest Supreme Court judgment on the electoral roll is troubling.

According to him, the judgement was explicit in ordering the Electoral Commission to automatically delete some names which has been a subject of considerable controversy.


Photo: Legal practitioner Poku Adusei

The Supreme Court on July 5 further clarified a May 5 judgment ordering the EC to delete names of persons who used the National Health Insurance (NHI) cards to register because it was not a sufficient proof of citizenship.

The clarification was sought by plaintiffs Abu Ramadan and Evans Nimako who suspected feet-dragging by the Electoral Commission. The Commission had maintained that the May 5 order never said NHIS registrants should be deleted.

Harvard educated legal practitioner Dr. Raymond Atuguba was a leading voice backing the Electoral Commission’s position that the court did not instruct automatic deletion of the names of the NHI registrants.

But the new judgment has re-affirmed that the said registrants should be deleted “forthwith”.

It also re-affirmed that the EC should “give adequate notice to those affected by the order of the processes of deletion and re-registration…”

But in a 22-page article, Raymond Atuguba feels vindicated by the latest judgement. He said the judgement proved his position that the court “cannot order the automatic deletion of names from the register.”

He suggested that the court sided with his position that automatic deletion would violate the fundamental electoral rights and disenfranchise many.

The court therefore ordered the EC to delete the names and give the affected persons an opportunity to re-register properly, he referred to the judgement


Photo: Chairperson EC Charlotte Osei

Whiles Dr. Atuguba believes he got it right, he noted that the plaintiffs got it wrong.

He said some sections of the public were wrongly led to believe that the Supreme Court on May 5, ordered EC to “automatically delete” and “delete without due process,” a strange position because the plaintiffs have never argued that the names should be deleted without due process.

In response however, Poku Adusei said the court essentially did not say anything different from its earlier position which the EC misunderstood.

He noted that nothing stops the court from ordering anything as long as it conforms to law.

“The court can order anything. It can even order your gender to be changed if that is in consonance with the constitutional doctrines of Ghana”, he said.

He suggested that the second judgment emphasized the Court’s first judgment to delete but provide re-registration opportunity.

Dr. Atuguba suggested that the celebratory mood in the opposition camp after the judgement is misinformed because the Supreme Court actually ruled more in favour of the EC.

He said of the five reliefs sought, the EC got four in its favour while the plaintiffs only partially got a relief in their favour


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