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Opinions of Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Columnist: sulemunkaila83@gmail.com

Abu Ramadan vrs EC: EC at a crossroads

On the issue of the Supreme Court ruling, I think the Electoral Commission is scared of the numbers that might be involved in the NHIA registration saga. I can say in my estimation that up to 50% of the register might be caught in this web. Why?

Because to an EC officer, it was very convenient using the NHIA cards then other identity card. That card seems to be the only card used popularly that readily provided the date of birth of an applicant which was a major field. Now you are there, and a prospective voter will come holding many cards and because of the date of birth issue raised above you simply take the NHIA card. Now one cannot also rule out the possibility of foreigners getting onto the electoral roll. In my view, this is what the EC might be moving from but pretending as though they didn't understand the ruling of the supreme court. If they are committed to enforcing the ruling this is what is expected:

They are going to identify those who registered with the NHIA cards through their systems and prepare their list.

Now this list would follow the register to the polling station. Hence, each polling station will have in addition a list of people who registered with the NHIA card. So we all go and check our names. If your name is found there you take steps to prove your citizenship. If you are ok, your name remains on the register and if otherwise it is deleted, simple.

Now is what I'm proposing backed by law? I say yes. Because in 2014, during the exhibition, we had the register in addition to the list of multiple registration and exception list. Multiple registrations were those who registered more than once while exception list had people who for instance registered during questionable times, are suspected minors or suspected insane persons. This list were sent to the affected polling stations if a person involved could not challenge his or her name on that list it was deleted.

At the end of the exercise in 2014, the commission said they deleted about 70,000 names if we can remember. That was backed by law.

So the laws are there, and the ruling is clear; therefore the EC should come again.

Now I go back to the practicality of the above process. Given the numbers involved, that is going to require a lot of paperwork, time and money. Time because many people will be filling into various polling stations to check their names and money because strong education will have to be undertaken.Or else if care is not taken it will lead to the disenfranchising of people given the nature of Ghanaians towards past exhibition exercises. So that will call for a national attention requiring the presence of almost everybody at the polling station to check their names by force.

Now a new register would have saved us all from this heckle. The EC completely rejected this idea from the NPP and other Civil Society Organisations.

There comes the almighty validation also seemingly from the NPP. The EC says that's not the way to go. Now if your wife gives an opinion on a matter to you, will you say because you didn't initiate it that is bogus?

With the narations above the EC should stop being entrenched and humbly go for the validation to save cost and time, so that that will replace the impending exhibition.

In another breadth, I think the EC's fear is for it to be seen to be driven by external force. Yes, but if you fail to be proactive, you 'll always be harassed by people who are action oriented and people who want to see things done on time. The EC must take it easy and do the right things at the right time to save mother Ghana and its enviable democracy.