Any failure to comply with SC orders could affect election results – Baako

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Editor-in-Chief of the Crusading Guide newspaper has warned the Electoral Commission (EC) would be opening itself up again for litigations which would affect the declaration of this year’s elections if it does not ensure a credible electoral roll as the ordered by the Supreme Court.

Abdul Malik Kweku Baako who was speaking on Joy FM/MultiTV’s news analysis program, Newsfile on Saturday, warned that the integrity of this year’s elections is at stake.

There is currently a controversy over the Supreme Court (SC)’s ruling on the current voters register, especially regarding the fate of persons who registered to vote with their National Health Insurance (NHIS) Cards.

The Electoral Commission sparked controversy last Thursday after it issued a statement explaining its understanding of the judgement, much to the displeasure of some politicians, including Abu Ramadan who sought relief from the Supreme Court on the issue. There have been calls for the Supreme Court to clarify its judgement.

According to Mr. Baako, the EC’s position on the Cards shows it has taken a firm decision not to act, which is very wrong not in consonance with the SC judgment.

The Court ordered that:

  • That the Electoral Commission takes steps immediately to delete or as is popularly known ‘clean” the current register of voters to comply with the provisions of the 1992 Constitution, and applicable laws of Ghana;
  • That any person whose name is deleted from the register of voters by the Electoral Commission pursuant to order (a) above be given the opportunity to register under the law.

The EC says it can ‘clean’ the register during the exhibition period which affords voters the opportunity to check if their information as captured in the registers is accurate.

However, Mr. Baako said the question should be whether the exhibition process is the effective remedy to identify those who used these Cards to register so the situation is corrected to put things right.

“The end result is that we need a reasonably accurate and credible register. If you go to an election with a register that is not reasonably accurate and credible as required by this ruling, you may be sowing the seeds for certain litigation that could affect the integrity of the declaration,” Mr. Baako said.

There have been calls for the parties pursuing this matter, the Commission and Mr. Ramadan to seek clarity from the Supreme Court on its judgement.

Nana Asante Bediatuo, lawyer for Mr. Ramadan speaking on Newsfile maintains that the EC got the judgement wrong.

He said establishing willfulness or deliberateness in disobeying the orders of the court is only based on evidence and he has the means by which to do so brushing aside the argument of the EC’s understanding of the judgment.

“If their understanding is unreasonable under the circumstance, it cannot be a good faith understanding,” the lawyer said.

He does not think that the SC order was ambiguous for the EC to say they don’t understand it, therefore, he won’t go back to seek for clarity.