President of IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe says the reason why the parties involved in the case regarding the exclusion of the existing voters’ ID card from the new registration exercise got confused after the Supreme Court verdict, was Parliament’s failure to look into the matter properly when it had the chance to.
The Court ruled in favour of the Electoral Commission’s decision to remove the current voter ID from the list of identification documents required to register ahead of the compilation of a new register and the 2020 general elections.
After the Supreme Court’s ruling on Thursday, June 25, confusion set in among the various factions in the case as they gave conflicting interpretations of the decision.
Prior to this, Parliament had voted to allow the EC to use the Ghana Card and passports as the only forms of identification for persons registering to vote after the relevant Constitutional Instrument had matured.
Mr. Cudjoe believes this initial decision by Parliament is a factor in the initial uncertainty after the Court’s verdict.
According to him, the House is to be blamed because it failed to conduct a proper investigation and analysis into the Electoral Commission’s (EC) reasons for wanting to compile a new register.
“The Rule of Law does not necessarily mean that we should be allowed to waste and plunder. So I think the fault of this whole confusion is coming from Parliament and especially the Majority side because they just accepted that they [the EC] said we should come and do this. They [Parliament] didn’t even order any audit on the answers that the EC had because they kept telling you that they were doing ABCD, that the life cycle of the machines has come to an end. They could have done the simple thing by causing an audit of the assets but it wasn’t done simply because they came and said they can’t do this without these machines,” he insisted on The Big Issue.
Still on the program, the President of the policy think-tank asserted that the Supreme Court should have gone beyond only confirming what the law says as it failed to do justice to the case.
“… And because the law is so mechanistic as well, it’s been affirmed. I think that’s the death of our democracy when it comes to these kinds of legal permutations. I think the courts are allowed to do what they want to do but on this particular matter, I think the court needs to be bolder and move beyond just affirming rules which may necessarily be plunderous as well.”
Sharing similar opinions with Franklin Cudjoe is the Leader of the All People’s Congress (APC), Hassan Ayariga.
He also believes the Supreme Court did not scrutinise well enough the National Democratic Congress’ case challenging the exclusion of the existing voter ID cards from the list of documents needed to register to vote.
He held that the apex court’s ruling only brought more confusion.
“The Supreme Court endorsed C.I. 126 to allow the use of NIA card and Ghana passport for the registration exercise. What it means is that institutions can now pass laws for the Supreme Court to comply and endorse. Practically, that is what happened. That is why it was very difficult for lawyers to understand the ruling. The Supreme Court actually did not do anything. It only confirmed C.I.126 and made some kind of pronouncements for the lawyers to get confused,” he said to Citi News.