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General News of Thursday, 7 April 2016

Source: Tv3network.com

NPP man withdraws injunction against EC

The Electoral Commission can now go ahead with its limited voters’ registration exercise despite a pending suit challenging the credibility of the register which has caused disaffection with the Commission.

Brong Ahafo Regional Youth Organiser of the New Patriotic Party, Kwame Baffoe, who is challenging the electoral roll on grounds that it is bloated, filed an application at the Supreme Court to halt the Commission from going ahead to register more people in the limited exercise which is slated for April 18.

When the case up for hearing Wednesday, Mr Baffoe withdrew the motion for injunction after the court chaired by the Chief Justice, Georgina T. Wood advised him in that regard on the basis that should his substantive suit succeed, it will render the action of the EC null and void.

"The Chief Justice advised that I withdraw the motion for injunction because... if at the end of the day the matter is determined in my favour, whatever the EC will do, that judgement will take over everything [done by the EC]," Mr Baffoe told Accra-based Joy FM Wednesday night .

The Attorney General, he said, filed a motion to have his substantive case struck out but upon legal submissions, the court disagreed and dismissed that application, thus paving the way for the case to be heard and determined on its merit.

Consequently, Mr Baffoe was given up to Monday, April 11 to file his statement of case while the AG and the EC have up to April 13 to file their responses after which the court will fix a date for the case to be gone into.

Mr Baffoe had argued in his motion for injunction that going ahead with the limited registration exercise in the face of what he termed glaring flaws in the current register, is inimical to democratic principles for which reason the EC ought to be stopped.

He said unless the EC was restrained by the court, the it will go ahead to conduct the proposed limited registration of voters.

Substantive case

In the substantive case, Mr Baffoe is seeking to compel the Electoral Commission to compile a new voters’ register since the current register is unfit for use in the November 7 general election.

“That the current register is not fit for the 2016 general election as it is publicly known to be bloated and contains names of constitutionally ineligible voters,” he claims in his writ.

He argues that the current register is fraught with names of foreigners, minors, and deceased persons among other ineligible persons, noting some people registered with National Health Authority cards, which the court declared as unfit for registration.

According to him, the EC has failed to put effective measures in place to prevent the registration of foreigners, minors and other ineligible persons from registering in the limited voters register.

He contends that the arrangements by the EC in the run up to the registration exercise were “undemocratic and flies in the face of the principles of good governance,” and claimed the EC has failed to implement the VCRAC Crabbe Committee’s recommendations and findings having spent huge sums of taxpayer’s money.

Reliefs being sought

1. A declaration that the current national voters’ register compiled by the defendant and intended to be used for the 2016 general elections in Ghana is bloated and hence unfit for use in the 2016 general elections.

2. A declaration that the current national voters’ register compiled by the defendants and intended to be used for the 2016 general elections in Ghana contains names of foreigners, minors, deceased persons andother persons who are constitutionally ineligible to vote in the 2016 general elections.

3. A declaration that the current national voters’ register compiled by the defendant and intended to be used for the 2016 general elections in Ghana contains names of persons who used National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Cards to register and hence the current voters’ register is not credible or fit to be used for the 2016 generals elections.

4. A declaraion that the findings by the five-member committee chaired by VCRAC Crabbe and constituted or formed by the defendant are true reflection of the weaknessess/laws inherent in the current national voters’ register compiled by the defendant and intended to be used forthe 2016 general elections in Ghana.

5. A declaration that a revision by the defendant of the national voters’ register to get rid of the names of foreigners, minors, deceased persons and other persons who are ineligible to voe does not constitute an arbitrary and discriminatory application of the electoral laws of Ghana.

6. An order of interim injunction restraining the Election Committee recently inaugurated by the defendant from playing any role whatsoever in relation to the impending national elections until the final determination of this suit.

7. An order of interim injunction restraining the defendant, her assigns, agent, privies, officials or any other person(s) or bodies acting through the defendant from registering voters or conducting the proposed limited registration of voters slated for 18/03/2016 until the final determination of this suit.

8. A declaration that, the current national voters’ register compiled by the defendant and intended to be used for the 2016 general elections in Ghana is not credible and hence null and void. i. An order compelling the defendant to compile a new and credible national voters’ register for use in the 2016 general elections in Ghana.

9. Further order or orders as this Honourable Supreme Court may deem fit to make.