Supreme Court judge Jones Dotse has clarified the May 5 judgement of the Abu Ramadan/Evans Nimako Vs Electoral Commission case, insisting persons who registered with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cards must be expunged from the voters’ register.
Justice Dotse, who was one of the seven justices who sat on the case, said the Court was “forthright and clear” in its judgement.
The judgement has been subjected to varying interpretations.
While the plaintiffs claim the Court called for a validation – of some sort – of the register by deleting names of NHIS-registrants as well as minors and dead persons, the defendants claim the country’s apex court upheld their autonomy and rather quashed the application brought before it by the plaintiffs.
But speaking to some journalists in Accra on Thursday, May 26, Justice Dotse, who was also one of the nine justices who ruled on the landmark election petition, said its latest judgement wants a cleaning of the register.
“And the recent one we said the use of the NHIS cards is therefore unconstitutional and they should take opportunity to clean the register of those undesirable persons,” he said.
The Court in a judgement in 2014 barred the EC from accepting NHIS cards as one of the identities for voter registration.
Justice Dotse explained that because registrants of the social intervention programme could be foreigners, use of the cards for registration was wrong.
“The Supreme Court was quite forthright and clear that the use of the NHIS cards is unconstitutional because the criteria for the NHIS cards was not based on Ghanaian citizenship but only on residents in Ghana.
“So, any foreigner who is resident in Ghana for six months or more can register under the NHIS cards. That was the basis of our decision in 2014.”
He said since some Ghanaian NHIS card bearers were allowed to register prior to the 2012 elections, entirely expunging names of NHIS-registrants could be genuinely disenfranchising some.
“So, the Supreme Court went on to say anybody who will be affected by that exercise must be given the opportunity to register according to the law and the constitution. Period.”
Already, the plaintiffs have served notice they will go back to Court to clarify the judgement and, possibly, cite the EC for contempt.
Justice Dotse said those who are finding the ruling difficult to understand can come back to the Court for clarification.
Below is the judgement of the Supreme Court on May 5:
(a) 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;
(b) 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.