A private legal practitioner, Yaw Oppong has expressed worry over comments seeking to trivialize the consolidated suit that challenged the Electoral Commission’s (EC) decision to compile a new register for the 2020 general elections.
He said the suits brought against the electoral management body rather represented a bold step towards the country’s jurisprudence.
“I have alternative perspectives to views expressed about whether or not this whole case was necessary or needless. In my respectful view, it was not needless at all. It was not only the NDC that went to court, but another citizen of Ghana also went to court. If there is a dispute in the community or within the populace and it is only resolvable by law, let us encourage people to go to court for the matter to be determined. It is not about a disagreement about what anybody has said”, he said on the Big Issue.
In affirming the already existing plans of the EC, the Supreme Court, on Thursday, June 25, 2020, ruled that the existing voter ID card and birth certificates cannot be used as proof of identity to register in the upcoming voter registration exercise after clearing the EC to go ahead and compile a new voters’ register for the 2020 general elections.
It followed a suit filed by Ghana’s largest opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) at the Court asking for a declaration on the existing voter ID card as a valid proof of identity for the purposes of voter registration.
Aside from the NDC, a private citizen, Mark Takyi-Banson, also challenged the EC’s decision to compile an entirely new register and exclude the existing voter ID.
But the apex court stressed that the EC was exercising its discretion in the discharge of its constitutional mandate in cleaning the voters register and “should be deemed as authorized to be acting within the law and the regulations therein, and cannot be faulted even if it is considered that there is a more efficient mode or method available.”
Mr. Oppong said: “I have, as a matter of concern, commended both the NDC and the private citizen for being bold. Going to court is not an easy thing to do, so for a person to go to the Supreme Court to redress their grievances or seek an understanding or a definite interpretation of a matter, I think we should rather encourage people.”