Voters register: Serious trouble looms, says Malik Baako

Kweku-Baako1Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako is worried about the numerous roadblocks working against the Electoral Commission (EC)’s preparation towards the November polls.

Mr Baako is urging the Commission to quickly resolve the grievances of political parties and other interest groups about the electoral roll before the general election.

He says the country could run into serious trouble if the litigation over the voters register is not quickly resolved.

Since 2014, former Youth Organizer of the People’s National Convention, Abu Ramadan and others have been battling the EC in court over the legality of the use of National Health Insurance cards as proof of citizenship to register to vote.

The Supreme Court on July 30, 2014, declared the use of the card unconstitutional, holding that the Provision permitting the use of the card which was contained in the Constitutional Instrument (CI 72) was inconsistent with the Constitution.

After the declaration, the EC took no steps to remove the names compelling the plaintiffs to go back to court in 2016.

The Court gave its verdict on May 5, ordering the EC to amongst others, take immediate steps to delete the names of persons who did not establish qualification to be registered.

Conflicting interpretation of this judgment too forced the plaintiffs to go back to the Court to seek clarification with the Court ordering the EC to provide the list of all NHIS registrants.

The Commission Wednesday, June 29, 2016, submitted the list of 56,739 names for deletion from the voters register after the Supreme Court ruled that they registered with NHIS card deemed illegal.

Plaintiffs in the case challenged the number of NHIS list presented by the EC, saying it should be more than the presented number. They further questioned repetitions in the serial numbers.

The Commission in reaction said what it submitted to the Court is accurate, daring the plaintiffs to prove otherwise.

Commenting on the continuous back and forth between the EC and the plaintiffs, Mr Baako, speaking on news analysis programme, Newsfile on the JOYNEWS channel on MultiTV/JoyFM, advised the EC to go back to the Court and ask for more time if it did not have the time and space to put up a comprehensive register.

“This list of fifty something thousand with all the discrepancies that have been put out already, I am beginning to think that we are in serious trouble,” Mr Baako said.

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