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09 July 2016

We are going to comply with Supreme Court orders – EC

93729696The Electoral Commission (EC) says it will carry out the deletion of names of persons who registered with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cards from the electoral roll as ordered by the Supreme Court.

Spokesperson for the EC, Eric Dzakpasu, explained to Joynews that the institution does not intend to create any form of disaffection regarding the application of the orders given by the apex court.

“Definitely as a law abiding institution as we have always done, we are going to comply with the orders of the Supreme Court,” he said.

Mr Dzakpasu’s comment was in reaction to the ruling of more than one year legal battle between the EC on one hand and a former National Youth Organiser of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Abu Ramadan and Evans Nimako on the other hand over the electoral roll.

One of the complainants, Abu Ramadan dragged the EC to court over names of NHIS registrants in the electoral roll.

Citing Supreme Court’s earlier ruling in 2014 which outlawed the use of NHIS card as a means of authenticating one’s citizenship during registration, Abu Ramadan prayed the court to declare the register unfit for the conduct of the November election.

In what was largely described as a landmark ruling, the apex court on May 5 ordered the EC to take immediate steps to rid the voters’ register of undesirable names such as ghost names, names of minors and NHIS registrants.

The EC had earlier denied the superior court asked it to delete names of NHIS registrants citing portions of the ruling to support its arguments.

This was enough to warrant another legal suit in which one of the plaintiffs, Abu Ramadan went to court to seek interpretation for its May 5 ruling.

A panel of five Supreme Court judges presided over by the Chief Justice, Georgina Wood fumed at the lackluster attitude of the EC. It cautioned the Commission to desist from acts that can plunge the entire nation into chaos.

It ordered the EC to submit before it list of NHIS registrants and the modalities to get those names out of the register for possible re-registration.

The EC’s list generated another bout of controversy as the plaintiff’s lawyer; Frank Davies accused the EC of deliberately omitting about eight districts in its list.

The superior court later asked the lawyer for the plaintiff to furnish the EC with any additional list he has to ensure the directive is carried out to completion.

Many people had predicted the EC will again be tardy regarding the implementation of the SC’s order more especially after law lecturer; Dr Raymond Atuguba wrote an article in which he insisted the EC cannot automatically rid the register of NHIS registrants.

The EC believes otherwise, noting, it will go ahead with the directive of the apex court.

Eric Dzakpasu said the Commission is in the “process of developing the necessary modalities” through which those names would be deleted and an opportunity given to them for re-registration.

Extending an invitation to Ghanaians, he said: “All other persons who are not on our list, and if anybody has any evidence should submit it to us with the necessary proof then we will proceed to delete them immediately.”

To desist from disenfranchising anyone, he said: “We will then give the opportunity to those people to provide the necessary documentation to be registered so that they can take part in the 2016 election.”

He disclosed the “Time, date and place for the deletion and re-registration of those who will be eligible” will be communicated to the public at the right time.

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