General News of Thu, 30 Jun 2016181
Chief Justice dares Ramadan on ‘NHIS voters’ list
Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood has challenged the People’s National Convention’s (PNC) Abu Ramadan to furnish the Electoral Commission with names of people who registered with NHIS cards ahead of the 2012 elections, since they claim the EC’s figure of 56,000 is spurious.
According to the Chief Justice, the process of providing a credible register for the elections is a shared responsibility and not one to be left solely for the EC to do.
The Chief Justice’s comments follow some objections raised by lawyers of the former PNC youth organiser over the credibility of the list presented by the EC.
In their objection, lead lawyer for the plaintiff, Frank Davies, told the Supreme Court that the fifty six thousand figure presented to it could not be right as they knew of more people who registered with NHIS cards in some areas, but were not captured by the EC.
The Supreme Court issued an order on Thursday, June 23, asking the Commission to respond to it in six days with the full list, to enable it bring closure to the matter. On Wednesday, June 30, the document, which is captured on a CD, was submitted at the Supreme Court Registry.
The panel of five judges in issuing the June 23 directive also asked the Commission to provide them with a detailed plan on how they were going to carry out the deletion and re-registration of the same people, who would be affected by the deletion.
They also warned that, they will not allow the Electoral commission to plunge the country into chaos.
Following the events of today [Thursday], the Supreme Court has scheduled Tuesday, 4th July to rule on the case.
The apex court on May 5 2016, asked the Electoral Commission to expunge from the current voters’ register the names of all persons who registered and voted in the 2012 elections, with the NHIS card as a proof of identity.
The ruling followed a suit filed by Abu Ramadan, and one, Evans Nimako, who in 2014 won a lawsuit that barred the use of NHIS cards for registration of potential voters.
The two, among other reliefs, wanted the current register declared inappropriate for the November polls.
But the EC after studying the ruling said it’s understanding did not suggest the use of any new process to delete the names of those who registered with NHIS cards, since there are already laid down procedures for expunging ineligible names.
The EC’s explanation however angered Mr. Ramadan who felt the Commission was disrespecting the explicit orders of the court.
His position was further strengthened when one of the judges who gave the May 5 ruling, stated categorically that the ruling was clear and unambiguous and that the EC must remove the names of persons who registered with the NHIS card.
He subsequently got the Supreme Court to issue the six-day ultimatum to the Commission.