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Opinions of Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Columnist: Ghanaian Chronicle

Editorial: The National Peace Council must be pro-active

They may look innocuous to the unsuspecting Ghanaian, but comments by National Democratic Congress officials on the directive issued by the Supreme Court to the Electoral Commission to delete the names of all those who registered using the National Health Insurance Scheme cards, have the potential to destabilise this nation on the way to the Presidential and Legislative elections this year.

On the day the Supreme Court delivered its directives to the Electoral Commission, Deputy National Secretary Koku Anyidoho went bananas. He accused the Supreme Court panel, and particularly, the Chief Justice, Her Ladyship Mrs. Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, of hijacking the activities of the Electoral Commission, and sarcastically invited the Chief Justice to take over from the EC and conduct the next general elections.

It was a disparaging remark delivered tongue in cheek. The Chronicle had hoped that those preaching peace, particularly, the National Peace Council, led by the immediate past Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, would call Mr. Anyidoho and other party apparatchiks making ugly noises about the directive to order.

So far, it has been business as usual. At the weekend, Deputy Minister of Education Mr. Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa dragged the President's name in the mud they have clothed themselves with on the NHIS cards directives.

At a rally to officially kick-start the campaign of Mr. Thomas Ampem Nyarko, District Chief of Asuogyaman, who is gunning to replace Mr. Kofi Ameyaw as Member of Parliament for the constituency without first resigning his post, Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa told cheering NDC supporters that the party and the government, headed by President John Dramani Mahama, would not allow the opposition New Patriotic Party to disenfranchise persons on the voters register, who used the NHIS cards to register.

“I want to give you full assurance from President Mahama to all 275 parliamentary candidates of the NDC; we will make sure that registered Ghanaians on the register votes. We will not allow the NPP to discriminate on the fact that somebody registered with NHIS card. We are not going to allow that. Everybody deserves to vote,” he charged on the campaign floor.

In the first place, nobody is being disenfranchised by the NPP. What the Supreme Court has pronounced on is that the NHIS card does not indicate the nationality of the holder. And since the electoral law of the land specifies that only Ghanaians can vote in this country, the Electoral Commission should delete the names of all those who registered using NHIS cards as a form of identity.

Even then, the Supreme Court left a window open for all of those people to re-register. The instructions are aimed at bringing sanity to an exercise that has been dogged by allegations of names of aliens appearing on the register.

The Chronicle is unable to pin-point where the Supreme Court has gone wrong to merit the veiled and not-so veiled attacks on the integrity of justice delivery in this country.

Are the NDC and its apparatchiks telling the nation that they know something about how people came to register using the NHIS cards? Are we being told that it was a party policy to push people who, otherwise, would not have qualified to register in this exercise, to do so, using the NHIS cards?

The Chronicle would not like to make any inferences here. But evidence abound that the NDC and its officials are crying more than the bereaved. The Supreme Court directive is directed at the Electoral Commission. Nowhere did the eminent judges, who constituted the panel in the petition brought by Abu Ramadan, former National Youth Organiser, and his fellow petitioner, ever cited the NDC.

When Koku Anyidoho went bananas, it was interpreted as noise from a cry baby. Now, we are being told, by no mean a person than a Deputy Minister, that President John Dramani Mahama is one of those who would not allow the natural cause of justice to run its full course.

The Chronicle would like to take this opportunity to invite the Head of State to clear his name. Is President John Dramani Mahama part of the plot to disrupt the course of justice, and probably, plunge this country into anarchy, as we approach the vote in November this year?

We are told that the Head of State is in the process of acquiring a gun that could fire many rounds of ammunition. We would not want to believe that President of the Republic of Ghana might, perhaps, be thinking of some dark days ahead. The National Peace Council has its job cut out.

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