Private Legal practitioner, Ace Ankomah says the Supreme Court has to clarify its orders on the controversial question of whether the names of persons who registered to vote using health insurance ID cards must be removed from the electoral roll.
Following different interpretations of a Supreme Court order, Mr. Ankomah said the disagreeing parties, the Electoral Commission and a politician, Abu Ramadan have to head back to the apex court for finality.
He said the court will ‘within the drop of a hat’ settle the disagreement over its May 5 judgment.
That ruling concluded that “the current register of voters, which contains the names of persons who have not established qualification to be registered is not reasonably accurate or credible.”
The Electoral Commission sparked controversy Thursday after it issued a statement explaining its understanding of the judgement.
According to the EC, cleaning up the register does not affect or include those registrants who used the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) card as proof of citizenship to register.
This view has taken political actors mainly in the opposition by surprise. Abu Ramadan, who, together with one Evans Nimako sued the EC, is incensed by this interpretation.
He explained to Joy News Thursday, the Supreme Court order was clear that those who registered with the NHIS card did “not establish qualification to be registered.”
He said the Supreme Court had ruled earlier in May 2015 that the NHIS card cannot be used to prove a person’s citizenship.
He has vowed to drag all seven Electoral Commissioners to court and cite them for high crime.
Speaking on the issue, legal practitioner Ace Ankomah said he understands the judgment to mean the NHIS registrants should be removed but added that was just his opinion of the judgment.
He explained on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Friday that cleaning suggests that some illegal identities exist on the register.
According to him, there are three criteria to determine which person cannot be registered. Any person under 18, any person of an unsound mind and any person who is not a Ghananian.
A Ghanaian must prove citizenship. NHIS card does not prove citizenship as the Supreme Court has said. Any person who used an NHIS card to register has not proven his claim to Ghanaian citizenship.
Such a person’s name ought to be removed, the lawyer pointed out. “It appears to me that this is what the court is saying”, Ace Ankomah indicated.
Nonetheless, some part of the judgment appears “superfluous”, Ace noted. “Things are not as clear as people think they are,” he said.
If the EC says it is already cleaning up the register, then does the court order now mean the Commission should speed things up?, he conjectured.
He also raised questions about whether the judgment affects those who used NHIS cards in the past to register or whether it preserves their registration.
“When a court declares an unconstitutionality, does it have an abdinicio effect which means it relates back to the foundation and removes everything that is based on the unconstitutionality or is the declaration of unconstitutional prospective so that anything that has occurred before then is valid?”
He said it is possible that a party may have a genuine misunderstanding of the Supreme Court ruling or deliberately misread it.
But this controversy can be resolved in a maximum of three weeks if the Supreme Court’s attention is drawn to the disagreement.
“Simply head back to court” he urged.
“The day that all lawyers agree, I think it will be the end of the world” Ace Ankomah said.