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05 July 2016

Serious doubts over credibility of EC’s list of NHIS registrants

EC Chair - Charlotte Osei

EC Chair – Charlotte Osei

Serious doubts have been cast over the credibility of the list of 56,000 people submitted by the Electoral Commission to the Supreme Court as representing all those who registered to get their names onto the current voters’ register with the use of National Health Insurance cards as proof of citizenship.

According to Executive Director of IMANI Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe, the list is not only fictitious, but also the figure involved is “hugely questionable and too low.”

“I am not a clairvoyant, neither do I possess any supernatural powers, but this figure is just a juju lotto number,” he said in a discussion on The Big Issue on Citi FM on Saturday July 2, 2016.

The EC submitted the list upon an order from the Supreme Court to do so within six days following a return to court by Mr Abu Ramadan of the People’s National Convention and one Evans Nimako to seek a clarification of the court’s May 5 ruling, which was subjected to several interpretations by the parties involved in the matter.

The court on May 5 directed the EC to delete from the register of voters the names of the dead, minors, as well as all voters who registered using their National Health Insurance Cards as a national ID. The same court had ruled almost two years ago that the NHIS cards were invalid for voter registration.
The plaintiffs and their lawyers have contested the validity of the list, which they also describe as fake and fictitious.

“I seriously doubt this 56,000 figure; I will be very surprised if the EC is able to provide the entire list because I have doubts if they captured this thing electronically, probably they have not even captured it well, so there may be several layers of doubt for the Su

preme Court to actually demand another layer of enquiry,” Franklin Cudjo insisted.

According to him, as of 2012, the number of people who had registered for the NHIS cards across the country was approximately 8.9 million.
He further explained that due to the convenience of procuring an NHIS card as compared to a driver’s license and other means of national identification, there was the possibility that a huge number of people registered for the voter’s identification card with an NHIS card.

Again, to him, there are not many people who possess driver’s licences, especially in the rural areas, and so if one considered people who even registered by using guarantors, the number quoted by the EC would still be too low. He felt a figure of at least three million would be more acceptable than what was presented to the court.

His position appears to be shared by a former Attorney General and private legal practitioner, Joseph Nii Ayikoi Otoo, is also questioning the credibility of the list.

He wonders whether those who worked on the processes were diligent enough to compile all the names of persons who registered with NHIS cards within the time frame given for the exercise.

The former A-G asked: “The question is how credible are those who actually worked on the processes? Have they done diligent work? Were they under pressure to produce the numbers because they had a limited period within which to act? Again, why has the EC found it so difficult from 2014 till now before coming out with this figure?”

He added: “A lowly figure of 56,000, when the first time this figure came out we saw a whole lot of figures being churned out by some media houses…? Again when they were given time to go and study the report and give their response, they actually came back to say that some of the reports did not have vital information which raises doubt about whether these are real figures so you cannot brush aside the issues the petitioners are raising,” he argued.

Ayikoi Otoo believes that those who were tasked to compile the names of persons who registered with NHIS cards should be given more time to do a better job.

“The very people who were involved in the exercise should come out to say that ‘we were compelled to do this thing at a very short notice’, we were compelled to come out with something so we just have to comply, but indeed we are satisfied that given more time we could do something better’.”

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