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09 July 2016

Case against EC “much ado about nothing” – Nketia

Johnson Asiedu Nketiah - NDC General SecretaryThe General Secretary of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) has described the case in which the Electoral Commission (EC) was dragged to court over the electoral roll as needless.

Johnson Asiedu Nketia said the plaintiffs wasted Ghanaians time by going after names of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) registrants who number a little above 56,000.

“I think this issue has been much ado about nothing. It is like chasing the wind,” he said.

The NDC chief scribe disclosed this in an interview with Francis Abban, host of Joynews/MultiTV’s news analysis programme, The Pulse.

There has been raging controversy over Ghana’s electoral roll resulting in a lawsuit brought against the EC by a former National Youth Organiser of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Abu Ramadan and one Evans Nimako.

They argued the register is replete with persons who did not use the right form of identification cards during registration. The Supreme Court in 2014 declared the NHIS card as an undesirable means of authenticating one’s citizenship status.

In another suit, Abu Ramadan called on the apex court to declare the electoral roll unfit for the November polls because of the presence of persons who used outlawed identity cards to register. The court, instead, ordered the EC to rid the register of ghost names, names of minors and NHIS carders.

The EC, quoting portions of the ruling, interpreted the court’s order to mean it was not ordered to purge the register of NHIS registrants. This led to another suit filed by one of the plaintiffs, Abu Ramadan seeking an interpretation of the court’s May 5 ruling calling for immediate steps to delete names of NIS registrants.

The court later asked the EC to furnish it with a list of NHIS registrants to which a list of 56,739 names was submitted.

The lawyer for the plaintiff, Frank Davies registered his misgivings regarding the EC’s figure, saying, there were some communities which were not included in the EC’s list. He was later to file his resentments officially to the court.

The court on July 5 ruled that the EC should go ahead and purge the register of NHIS card holders.

The case has dragged on for some time with some Ghanaians arguing the Commission appears to have been distracted in the performance of its core mandates as the nation prepares to head to the November polls.

Reacting to the issue, Mr Nketia shares the same position.

According to him, “Even though because of this legal theatrics of going back and dropping this relief and coming back to it and so on, some delay has been caused to the whole nation,” he said.

He challenged those Ghanaians who believe there are more NHIS card holders in the register than the EC supplied to the court.

“The invitation is to people who think other people have registered with NHIA card for which they have evidence. They should go and present the evidence for the names to be deleted and then the people affected given the opportunity to be reregistered,” he said.

Commenting on the appointed National Campaign team of the NDC which he heads, Mr Nketia promised they will ensure decentralization of the 2016 campaign.

He revealed: “In the past, there has been both in the NDC and NPP cases where campaign leadership has been appointed outside the party which comes along with its own advantages and disadvantages.”

“President Mahama,” he said has “decided to work with the structures of the party and I guessed that’s why he had to focus more on the party.”

“This team [the NDC campaign team] is going to be at the apex of everything, below there can be a lot of decentralization. It is not going to be a one man show or a two-man show.”

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