The National Democratic Congress flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama, has reiterated his party’s concerns that the governing New Patriotic Party intends to suppress votes in NPP strongholds.
The NDC has accused the governing party of pushing for the compilation of a new voters’ register for the 2020 general election in an attempt to disenfranchise many Ghanaians, especially those in areas where the NDC wins most votes.
Speaking during one of his digital conversations on Facebook, Mahama argued that the Electoral Commission’s decision to accept the Ghana Card and passports as the only form of identification required to register to vote is wrong.
“Our party has been in the vanguard of a fight to prevent the disenfranchisement of a switch of the citizens of this country.
“We recognise that our opponents are determined to suppress votes in areas of the country they deem not be their strongholds otherwise it is difficult to understand some of the restrictions being put in the way a wider enfranchisement of all eligible Ghanaian voters,” he said.
John Mahama however urged the Supreme Court to give a ruling that will be in the national interest.
“We await the verdict of the Supreme Court and it is our hope that whatever verdict is given will be in the national interest to promote the wider participation of our citizens in our democratic process rather than a restriction to an elite few,” he further urged.
The Electoral Commission is set to compile a voters’ register for the 2020 general election but the commission has decided to use the Ghana Card and the Ghanaian passport as source documents to getting on to the roll.
NDC sues EC
The NDC is challenging the Electoral Commission in court on the matter.
On 9 June, Parliament voted to allow the EC to use the Ghana Card and Passports as the only forms of identification for persons registering to vote after relevant the constitutional instrument had matured.
The EC presented the Public Election (Amendment) Regulation 2020 (CI 126) to Parliament to amend CI 91 in order to change the current identification requirements.
But the NDC feels this amendment will lead to many Ghanaians being disenfranchised.
The Electoral Commission subsequently submitted its legal justification for the amendment and described the old voter ID as “a fruit from a poisoned tree” and a breach of Article 42 of the constitution, which defines who is qualified to register to vote.
The EC cited the court’s judgment in the Abu Ramadan case, where it indicated that the use of the National Health Insurance Card to register a voter is inconsistent with Article 42 of the constitution and therefore void.
In line with the Abu Ramadan judgment, over 56,000 names registered with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cards were deleted.
It further argued that it was an independent body and had the constitutional responsibility of determining how any registration exercise will be conducted.
The Supreme Court has set Tuesday 23 June 2020 to deliver its judgment in the case.