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Ghana: Supreme Court orders voters’ register cleanup

By Dasmani Laary in Accra
Posted on Friday, 6 May 2016 11:38

A businessman and a political activist had dragged the electoral body before Ghana’s apex court over the state of the voters’ register. The plaintiffs argued the present register was bloated with names of unqualified persons inconsistent with the constitution and requested an order to set aside the 2012 list and compel the Electoral Commission to compile a fresh one.

So we’re going to sit comfortably to watch the EC and how they are going to go about an interesting process

The court, in a 5-2 decision on Thursday, generally ruled the commission launch swift action to delete names of minors, dead persons and persons who had registered and voted in the 2012 polls with national health insurance cards – banned for use as means of identification in voter registration.

It also ordered provision be made to re-register persons whose names would be removed but are qualified voters. It, however, dismissed plaintiffs’ reliefs seeking to declare the register null and void and call for validation.

“The Electoral Commission must take immediate steps to clean the current voters’ register, it must also make provisions for the re-registration of eligible persons whose names would have otherwise been deleted through the cleaning process,” the court ordered.

The ruling has been hailed as landmark and vindication of campaigners’ persistent call for credible roll since the current one was said to be unfit for credible elections.

“The Supreme Court has finally spoken on the issue of the integrity of the electoral register, and we believe this confirms our long-held position on the matter that the register is incurably flawed,” David Asante, head of pressure group, Let My Vote Count Alliance, told local media after the court ruling.

“So we’re going to sit comfortably to watch the EC and how they are going to go about an interesting process.”

Opposition New Patriotic Party vice presidential candidate, Mahamudu Bawumia was quoted saying, “we have been saying that, in fact, the voter’s register is not a credible, we have said this for a long time and so we expect the electoral commission to very quickly and immediately put together the modalities for addressing this issue and removing the names of all the categories specified by the Supreme Court”.

The commission said measures were already underway to sanitise the controversial roll. expekt

It is estimated that about 15,504,207 voters would participate in this year’s elections after the ongoing limited registration is able to capture 1.2 million new voters.

The opposition had claimed there were around 4 million illegal voters including some 760,000 foreigners in the old register that contained 14,535,987 names.