Politics of Friday, 1 August 2014
Some political parties in Ghana have welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision barring the Electoral Commission (EC) from using the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cards in registering new voters in the upcoming voter registration exercise.
The EC was scheduled to embark on the registration of persons who turned 18 years after the 2012 general elections and adults who could not register during the previous registration exercises.
These two categories of individuals were to present a National Identification Card, Ghanaian Passport, Drivers License, an NHIS CARD or an old voter ID card as proof of eligibility.
But the Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously granted a perpetual injunction restraining the EC from using the NHIS cards after the National Youth Organizer of the Peoples National Convention (PNC), Abu Ramadan and one Evans Nimako sued the Commission.
The two were seeking true and proper interpretation of Article 42 of the Constitution in relation to the use of the NHIS card as a proof of qualification to register as a voter pursuant to the public elections.
The EC has since set August 4, 2014 to begin the nationwide registration exercise.
A Deputy General Secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) George Lawson, told Citi News, the party will embark on a sensitization exercise to educate its members on the decision.
“The Supreme Court has spoken, the highest court of the land has spoken and everybody would have to abide by the ruling,” he said.
According to him, it is the duty of all political parties to “create that awareness” by sensitizing its members on the ruling.
Mr. Lawson urged all polling station agents to take note of the new ruling that NHIS cards are not acceptable.
The National Organizer of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), John Boadu insisted that even though they welcome the decision, it is an indictment on the nation to be struggling over the mode of identification of its residents.
He remarked that it is shameful for Ghana “not to have a proper, credible identification system in place so we are running around in circles almost all the time.”
Mr. Boadu expressed his frustrations over the persisting problems which arise whenever the EC has to undertake the registration of citizens.
“For how long are we going to go through this?” He asked
Meanwhile, the General Secretary of the Progressive Peoples Party (PPP), Kofi Asamoah-Siaw has criticized the EC for failing to learn from the 2012 elections. He was of the opinion that the Commission should more concerned about electoral reforms rather than registration.
He challenged the EC to attempt doing things differently instead of “rushing to do the very things which created problems for us.”
According to him, a road map should be in place for electoral reforms before new voters are registered.