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Opinions of Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Columnist: Rockson Adofo

IMANI Ghana is desperately trying to 'corner' the Supreme Court with it's amicus brief on EC

IMANI Ghana has notoriously positioned itself as the unrivalled, if not the unique, policy think tank, in Ghana. However, in many an instance, it has been found to cock-up.

Franklin Cudjoe, the President of IMANI Ghana, and his assistant Simmons, have been making a lot of irresponsible agitations, statements and unceasing but utterly futile attempts, to get the Electoral Commission rescind or backtrack on their decision to compile a new credible voter roll for election 2020.

IMANI Ghana as a body of dubious characters, is refusing to understand not only the immaculately stated content of Article 42 of the Ghana 1992 Republican Constitution by which the nation is governed but also, the constitutional mandate of the Electoral Commission as is stipulated in Article 45 of same Constitution.

The above named two notorious leaders at IMANI Ghana are clearly obstructing the functions of the EC by their persistent but unsound arguments to derail the EC’s resolute determination as is grounded in law, to compile a credible voter register through the re-registration of the Ghanaian electorate.

They keep basing their arguments on timelines, and the possibility of some Ghanaians being disenfranchised should the EC reject the current voter card in possession of many a Ghanaian electorate, for their Ghanaian identity to re-register them on to the intended new voter register.

The argument that the IMANI Ghana with their NDC friends and the other such dubious organisations is presenting is that the EC basing her criteria for one’s Ghanaian identification on the possession of a Ghana passport or Ghana National Identity card before accepting to register people on to the new voter roll will disenfranchise many Ghanaians. They claim it is not every Ghanaian that possesses any of those documents.

What shocks me most is IMANI Ghana’s silence on the third option stated by the EC for registering Ghanaians. That third option is, any Ghanaian without a Ghana passport or a Ghana National Identity Card can be equally registered when two registered Ghanaians do vouch for the person as being a Ghanaian known to them. Why do IMANI Ghana, NDC and their other equally malicious, corrupt, and power-drunk organisations, not state the third option in their arguments for others to know but always leave that option out to let their arguments seem credible to the unsuspecting public?

I have been living outside Ghana for several decades yet, when I go to Kumawu, Abotanso, Abenaso and Juaben today, I can get more than two people in each mentioned town or village to tell that I am a Ghanaian. They will be able to mention the names of my grandparents, parents and point to the home where I come from and the house in which I lived or live. Therefore, anyone claiming to be a Ghanaian but cannot get two people to vouch for his or her Ghanaian identity is indeed not a Ghanaian by my estimation. Period!

The third option is even the best option but they are scared of the catch. And, what is the catch here? Anyone who fraudulently vouches for someone on affidavit, and it turns out that the person vouched for is not a Ghanaian will be prosecuted in a court of law hence the fear to go down that line by IMANI Ghana, NDC and their ilk.

Why are these criminal bodies trying to cheapen the acquisition of Ghana nationality by immigrants through the backdoor of the simple possession of the current voter card issued on presentation of Ghana National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Card? Was the NHIS card issued to only Ghanaians? No. It was issued to any interested person living in Ghana with intention to avail themselves of free Ghana healthcare. Subsequently, legal and illegal foreigners in Ghana were all issued with NHIS card. Therefore, such card which led to one obtaining a voter card as sanctioned by then Chair of the Electoral Commission, Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan, is completely in violation of Article 42 of the Ghana 1992 Constitution.

Many that were not Ghanaians were in possession of NHIS card and by accepting the card as one’s Ghanaian identification to get them voted and continue to vote is in contravention of the law hence must be changed. A wrong is a wrong so when noticed, it must be corrected. A mistake can never be accepted for right because it has been in use for long. No, it still remains a mistake that has to be rectified at the opportune time.

IMANI Ghana is presenting itself as a neutral body without any partisanship hence deciding to submit amicus curiae to the Supreme Court to challenge the EC on her compilation of a new voter register. Nevertheless, many a Ghanaian finds IMANI Ghana, especially Franklin Cudjoe, in this instance, more of NDC than the NDCs themselves. Some people even allege he is in the pocket of some influential members of the NDC hence doing their dirty, unintelligent and disgraceful politics for them. What a think tank indeed!

What is Amicus Curiae? It is defined as, “An amicus curiae (literally, "friend of the court"; plural, amici curiae) is someone who is not a party to a case who assists a court by offering information, expertise, or insight that has a bearing on the issues in the case”

Has Franklin Cudjoe not taken sides in the case against the EC on the compilation of the new voter register from day one, associating himself with the NDC and other such opposing organisations? Assuming IMANI Ghana is neutral in the case, its arguments as so far read from the newsprint will not hold any water. The current voter register is not credible and the current voter card is not any genuine document to prove one’s Ghanaian identity.

This is why I always seem to belittle the African and if I do that, it is people like Franklin Cudjoe and the political parties like NDC that give me the reason or cause to act the way I do. When you come to the United Kingdom, National Health Service (NHS) Card issued to people in the United Kingdom to enable them avail themselves of the free healthcare same as it is in Ghana, is not accepted for one’s identity let alone, their British citizenship identity or nationality. Why are Ghanaians through dubious characters like Franklin Cudjoe and corrupt political parties like the NDC forcing Ghanaians to accept immigrants found in Ghana as Ghanaians without such persons going through the constitutionally mandated procedures for acquiring Ghanaian nationality?

For the sake of those of us who are laypersons in the legal profession, let me quote from the Wikipedia to bring out clearly the attempt the dubious IMANI Ghana is trying to make as read from the Ghana internet news portal that has so incensed me to put out this publication this morning, Tuesday, 23 June 2020 at around 10:55 both British and Ghana time.

“Amicus Curiae is Latin for "friend of the court." A non-party with an interest in the outcome of a pending lawsuit who argues or presents information in support of or against one of the parties to the lawsuit. In many instances, the amicus curiae attempts to draw the court's attention to arguments or information that the parties may not have presented, such as the effects of a particular court ruling on the interests of certain third parties”.

“An amicus curiae usually presents arguments or information to the court in the form of a brief. Amicus briefs are typically filed at the appellate level, although they also may be filed in lawsuits pending at the trial court level. Generally, an amicus curiae must obtain the court's permission before filing its brief, unless all of the parties consent to the amicus filing”

The Supreme Court must please not be influenced by the bogus arguments presented by IMANI Ghana, NDC and other such suspicious organisations to belittle themselves by straying from the correct path and the correct interpretation of the Ghana Constitution on who is a Ghanaian, how a Ghanaian nationality is acquired and who can register to vote in Ghana general elections.

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