Attorney General’s legal submissions on the new voters’ register to Supreme Court

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Godfred Yeboah Dame, the Deputy Attorney General (AG), has indicated in his legal submissions to the Supreme Court of Ghana in the case of NDC v AG & EC, that the “current voter register is flawed and undermines the right to vote.”

In a 32-page document, the AG who is also the first defendant in the case noted that the voters’ register which was compiled for the 2012 and 2016 elections, “carry-over of the sins and ills with the old voter registration system in Ghana hitherto”.

Citing Articles 42, 45(a) and (c), 46 and 51 of the 1992 Constitution as the primary reason for the compilation of a new register by the second defendant (Electoral Commission), Yeboah Dame said, the EC is expected by the Constitution to “set up and supervise a process for the conduct of elections, every stage of which is credible and reliable.”

He argued: “In a country whose recent history has been characterized by very close presidential and parliamentary elections, there is the utmost need and justification for a system to be devised which will reasonably assure an accurate register of voters, so as to ultimately ensure that the right to vote is properly protected.”

He continued: “The existence of any system or situation which encourages persons who are not entitled to be on the register of persons to get on same, or which encourages double registrations and multiple voting undermines the principle of equal suffrage by eroding the one person, one vote principle.”

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is contending with the Electoral Commission on its position of using only the Ghanaian passport and Ghana Card as the only documentary evidence for proof of citizenship for purposes of voter registration.

This, the NDC believes is contrary to the law and will disenfranchise thousands of Ghanaian citizens who may not have a passport nor the Ghana Card and has prayed the apex court do not grant the EC the permission limit the documents required to only those two.

But the Deputy AG indicated that the only legally recognised voters’ ID card is the card compiled pursuant to C.I. 72 in 2012.

Citing the Supreme Court’s decision in the Abu Ramadan case, the deputy AG stated that that judgement rendered all cards compiled prior to 2012 out of use.

The cards obtained in 2012, he maintained, is equally problematic as individuals acquired that card by using the previous card.

“The soundest and most efficient way to protect the right of the Ghanaian under article 42 going forward is to start with a tabular rasa shorn[compile the register from a clean slate] and stripped of all the constitutional breaches, ineligibilities and violations of the C.I 12/C.I 72 eras,” the Deputy AG stated.

Meanwhile the constitutional instrument (C.I.) in contention, apart from the documentary evidence required also allows two persons to vouch for anyone who has no documentary proof of citizenship.

What this means, in effect, is that all the arguments for a new and more credible register has limited effect on the proposed register since those who have the documents required will in all likelihood vouch for anyone they so desire to be registered, leaving Ghanaians in square one, with millions of cedis and time wasted.

Read below the full legal submission by the 1st defendant.

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