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General News of Thursday, 25 June 2020


Judges must learn to write and speak in plain English - H. Kwasi Prempeh

H. Kwasi Prempeh,  Executive Director of the of Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) H. Kwasi Prempeh, Executive Director of the of Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana)

The Executive Director of the of Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), H. Kwasi Prempeh, has urged the Supreme Court to be more concise and unambiguous in their ruling in court cases as the Supreme Court is for all Ghanaians and not lawyers.

His statement comes in the aftermath of Thursday’s ruling in the case of the NDC versus the Electoral Commission which appears to have been interpreted differently by the parties involved after the court made its judgment.

In a Facebook post, the law Profesor said, “The Supreme Court of Ghana is the supreme court for Ghanaians, all Ghanaians, not for lawyers. Judges must learn to write and speak in Plain English!” He continued, “I have sighted the written orders on the reliefs. They could have been a lot clearer and aimed at the general population, at least in summary.”

NDC vs EC face off in court

The National Democratic Congress in May 2020 sued the Electoral Commission at the Supreme Court over its decision to compile a new voters register ahead of the 2020 elections.

The opposition party stated their stance against the EC’s decision, arguing that the exercise was unnecessary and costly. The EC being adamant, indicated its resolve to proceed with its decision.

Following this, the NDC sought an order from the court to stop the EC from compiling a new voters register and an alternative order declaring as illegal the decision of the electoral body not to consider the old voter ID cards as proof of citizenship for registering.

But the Apex court gave them a directive to choose on which of their two reliefs they wanted a decision on.

It is for this reason the NDC dropped the case which questions the power of the Electoral Commission to compile a new register.

The Supreme Court in a unanimous decision merged the two cases against the EC’s voters registration exercise. As a private citizen Mark Takyi-Banso was also seeking the same relief as the NDC.

In today’s ruling, two reliefs out of the 8 reliefs were granted to the NDC by the Apex court. These are the reliefs two and three. The two and three states “This relief is granted subject to the fact that all eligible voters must make themselves available for registration as directed by EC pursuant to public elections(Registration of voters)(Amendments) Regulations, 202 C.I 126.”

“The relief is granted subject to the voter registration card issued to an eligible voter under the prevailing constitutional Instrument C.I 126.

Upon this ruling the NDC’s General Secretary, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia told Journalists at the Apex Court that they feel vindicated.

He said, “We feel vindicated because the court itself, in an earlier ruling, has clearly stated that the possession of an existing voter ID card means that the holder is a citizen of Ghana, who is qualified to be registered and exercise his or her powers and, so, the court couldn’t have gone back on its own earlier ruling and it did also admit that the right to vote, once it accrues to a person, cannot be taken back in a whimsical and capricious manner in which the Electoral Commission sought to do”.

“We just came out of the Supreme Court and the court has just delivered a verdict, which has granted our request for the inclusion of the existing voter card as a breeder document for the compilation of the register and I think that we’re most grateful”.

“We think that this is the most substantive issue for which we came to court, so, we’ll get back to the office and we’ll address a full-blown press conference on the consequential matters arising”, he said.

This comment has generated some confusion as both parties (The plaintiff and defendant) are claiming victory.

The plaintiff believes the court ruled that old voters ID can be used for the compilation of the new register while the defendant argues that the court was clear that electoral an independent body and can only be directed by the court if they go contrary to the very laws that brought their existence.

But the court was very clear in its order for the EC to go ahead with the compilation of the new voters register.

However, there has been some social media reaction on this ruling as many believe the court was not clear on its ruling.

Based on the different interpretation of this ruling, the Executive Director of Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) said the Judges must learn to write and speak in plain English.