An astute private legal practitioner, lawyer Gary Nimako Marfo says the argument of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that the Electoral Commission (EC) is violating the constitution by registering students in their various schools does not hold any water.
According to him, the Electoral Commission (EC) is rather bringing into effect the full realisation of the constitution which enjoins the EC to make sure that every young Ghanaian person who is 18 years and above and of sound mind register to take part in elections.
Speaking on Okay FM’s ‘Ade Akye Abia’ Morning Show, lawyer Nimako Marfo intimated that the Constitution of the country is the ultimate law which is bigger than the Constitutional Instrument (CI) that the NDC is basing their argument on to say that the EC cannot register eligible Ghanaian voters outside the gazetted centres for registration.
“We have a constitution in this country and that is the ultimate law bigger than any law in this country. The constitution says that the Electoral Commission has the mandate to register eligible Ghanaians who are 18 years and above and of sound mind,” he mentioned.
“This is the constitutional obligation on the Electoral Commission (EC) that if anybody who is a Ghanaian and is 18 years and above and of sound mind comes the EC, that person must be registered,” he stressed.
He reiterated that the Constitutional Instrument (CI) is borne out of the constitution therefore it is subservient to it.
He stressed that the right to register every eligible Ghanaian voter who is 18 years and above and of sound mind cannot be equated to the fact that some places have not been gazetted for registration.
He added that the EC has not flouted the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, in deciding to go to the various schools in this era of COVID-19, using their mobile team to register the students who are 18 years and above and of sound mind in order not to expose them to the virus.
“The argument that the NDC is raising is neither here nor there; it is totally flawed in law. The CI which talks about gazetting cannot override the constitution which permits everyone who is 18 years and above and of sound mind to register. The constitution says that every Ghanaian has the right to register but then the EC has a constitutional instrument drawn from the constitution which will guide them how to go about the registration,” he explained.
He warned that the Electoral Commission (EC) will be in serious trouble should they make a mistake to say that they will not register students who are 18 years and above and of sound mind.
“It will amount constitutional violation,” he indicated.
He said people can walk to the offices of the Electoral Commission (EC) to register for voter’s identification card; quizzing whether the EC offices have been gazetted as registration centres.
NDC Sues EC
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has sued the Electoral Commission (EC) over the latter’s decision to extend the registration of voters to campuses of Senior High Schools which have not been gazetted as registration centres.
The NDC has filed the suit at the High Court (General Jurisdiction) Friday, listing four reliefs, along with orders the court shall deem fit, as well as punitive costs.
Specifically, the party is asking for:
A declaration that it is illegal and wrongful for the Defendant (Electoral Commission) to conduct registration at any place including campuses of a Senior High School which was not contained in a Gazette and notification in accordance with C.I. 91.
A declaration that any such registration of voters including students that take place at any ungazetted and unpublished registration centre including Senior High School campuses is null and void and of no legal effect.
An order excluding names of persons registered at those illegal centres from the register of voters.
An order for perpetual injunction restraining the Defendant whether by itself, officers, agents, or any other functionary personnel from carrying out registration of voters in any Senior High School or place not duly gazette or published in accordance with C.I. 91 as amended.
The EC announced Wednesday it was embarking on a two-day registration of in-school SHS students who qualify to vote from their various schools.
The exercise began Friday, July 10, 2020, and ended Saturday, July 11.
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