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General News of Friday, 25 July 2014

Source: citifmonline.com

Prepare for unforeseen setbacks – Lawyer tells EC

Nana Asante Bediatuo, lead counsel for Peoples National Convention’s (PNC) Abu Ramadan has advised the Electoral Commission (EC) to prepare for unforeseen circumstances in undertaking their duties.

This, he said, is to prevent the Commission from re-scheduling the undertaking of their key duties ahead of general elections in Ghana.

He chastised the EC for waiting until too late to work under strict timelines because “if there is a challenge to some aspects of your work, you cannot turn around and complain…”

The National Youth Organizer of the PNC, Abu Ramadan, filed a suit against the EC praying the court to stop the Commission from accepting the National Health Insurance cards to register prospective voters ahead of the 2016 general elections.

Subsequently, the Supreme Court ordered the Commission to suspend the planned registration, which was scheduled to begin on Friday, July 25, 2014.

The suspension is to hold until the final determination of the suit.

The EC has however indicated the Supreme Court ruling will delay the exercise, which is crucial for the 2016 general elections.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, Nana Asante Bedietuo admitted that the injunction on the registration exercise would disrupt the activities of the EC, which is on a strict timeline.

But he was quick to add that due to such unforeseen circumstances, the EC should have arranged its affairs “in such a way that there is always some room to maneuver.”

He described his client’s case as a “simple one” which seeks to prevent unqualified individuals as stipulated by the constitution to be registered to vote in Ghana’s elections.

Abu Ramadan’s counsel maintained that if the delay in undertaking the voter’s registration exercise is the price to pay for a clean register, “then it’s a price well paid.”

He said despite the order from the Supreme Court, it would have been unwise for the Electoral Commission (EC) to have gone ahead with the registration of new voters.

He also mentioned that there are reports of the non-availability of funds at the disposal of the Commission to carry out the registration exercise and the district assembly elections.

“…and so whatever be the case, it certainly wouldn’t be a good idea if they go ahead and do the exercise,” he said.

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