C.I. 126 contradicts established principles in Abu Ramadan case – Dominic Ayine
The Chairman of Parliament’s Committee on Subsidiary Legislation, Dr Dominic Ayine, has stated that the passing of C.I. 126 into law goes against the decision of the Supreme Court in the Abu Ramadan case.
Parliament on Tuesday voted in a 102 to 96 decision in favour of the passing of C.I. 126 to allow the Electoral Commission (EC) to use the Ghana Card and Ghana Passport as the only forms of identification for persons registering to vote for the 2020 polls.
According to the Bolgatanga East legislator, the decision may be contrary to the ruling given by the Supreme Court in 2016 in the Abu Ramadan vs EC case that sought to limit identification documents for persons registering to vote.
“The interpretative decisions of the Supreme Court forms part of the compendium of constitutional law of this country. So apart from the provisions of the Constitution itself, when those provisions have been interpreted by the Supreme Court, you have to read the provisions together with the decisions of the Supreme Court in order to come to a firm position as to what is the correct position of the law. And so from where we stand, the decisions in the Abu Ramadan series of cases were very clear. To say that you want to invalidate an existing voter card meant that you are basically saying that the person who is holding it is not a citizen of this country.”
He explained that in the first Abu Ramadan case, the court turned down the argument that the voter ID card that was obtained by Ghanaians under C.I 72 should be declared null and void because using it to register would amount to double registration.
According to him, the exclusion of the use of old voter ID cards in C.I 126 on grounds that some persons used National Health Insurance cards in acquiring them was not valid.
He also explained that the court had ordered the EC to delete all names of persons who had used the National Health Insurance card in registering because they should not have used same.
Accordingly, the EC went to court with loads of evidence to show that it had found and deleted 56,000 names from the register.
“The Commission assured the Supreme Court that 56,000 names had been deleted and that those were the only names that they had found who had used the health insurance card to register.”
Dr Dominic Ayine also accused the Electoral Commission of going back to its vomit by seeking to compile a whole new register when the Commission had argued against same in court in the Abu Ramadam case.
“Now, the Commission is an administration of state and as the Hon. Majority Leader himself said the institution is a continuum so the fact that there is a change in management does not mean that the Commission can walk back on its own words. These were not the words of Mrs Charlotte Osei neither are they the words of Mrs Jean Mensa, they are the words of the Electoral Commission of the Republic of Ghana. One of the things I have found very surprising about what is happening is that the Electoral Commission vehemently argued against Ramadan’s request for them to throw out the entire register on the basis that it was faulty. They vehemently opposed Ramadan and that is how come the court made the orders that they made and they went ahead and deleted the names.”
“All of a sudden the Electoral Commission is now singing the same song as Abu Ramadan in the cases that he brought. So you ask yourself what has changed? If you change your personnel does it mean that the entire institution should now turn back on what it was doing and say that all of a sudden we have realised that we were wrong? That we have realised that we lied to the Supreme Court? Mind you, it was not Charlotte Osei who lied to the Supreme Court, it was the Electoral Commission of the Republic of Ghana that lied to the Supreme Court. Is this how our state institutions should operate? And so that is why we were against the actions because we thought it ran contrary to the established principles of law in the Abu Ramadan cases,” he added.