NDC vs EC: Supreme Court forced us to abandon one relief – Amaliba

The Director of Legal Affairs of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Abraham Amaliba, has said the party was compelled by the Supreme Court to let go its first relief in its two-pronged suit against the Electoral Commission rather than a voluntary withdrawal of same by the party.

“If your correspondent was in court, he would have told you that the NDC did not voluntarily abandon the first relief”, Mr Amaliba told Class91.3FM’s Blessed Sogah on the 505 news programme, adding: “Indeed, we argued that it was possible for the Supreme Court to deal with both reliefs because one bordered on the Constitution, the other was on the CI that would allow the EC to use passports and NIA cards. So, we were of the view that it was possible for the Supreme Court to deal with the two issues.

“However, they declined and asked us to elect which of them we wanted to pursue and, so, in our wisdom, we decided for the second relief, which relief had some element of dealing with the register in such a way to have the same effect as if the register has not been compiled. And, so, if you look at the wisdom in our selection, it will tell you that if we got the second relief granted by the Supreme Court, then it will eventually mean that the register has not been compiled anew, and, so that’s what happened but it’s not as if we went to court voluntarily to have our first relief struck out”, Mr Amaliba explained.

The NDC, with regard to the first relief, sought to stop the Electoral Commission from conduction a registration exercise for a new voter roll ahead of the 2020 polls in addition to its attempt to compel the election management body to use the old voter ID card for compiling a new register of voters.

At the Supreme Court on Thursday, 11 June 2020, the lawyer for the NDC, Mr Godwin Edudzi Tameklo, abandoned the first relief after the panel asked him to choose one of the two.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has set 23 June 2020 as the date to deliver judgement on the NDC v. EC case currently before it concerning whether or not the election management body can exclude the old voter ID card from its forthcoming registration exercise.

The seven-member panel chaired by Chief Justice Anin Yeboah, gave the date after the lawyers of the National Democratic Congress and the Electoral Commission, respectively, gave their arguments to support their stance.

There was heavy security presence at the Supreme Court before Thursday’s hearing of the contentious case between the two bodies.

Scores of armed security personnel from the Formed Police Unit of the Ghana Police Service besieged the court to provide security for today’s hearing.

Per C.I.126 recently passed by Parliament, the Ghana card and passport are the only documents that eligible voters can use as proof of citizenship, to get registered for the new voter card ahead of the 2020 polls.

In the absence of either of the documents, a registrant would need two already-registered Ghanaians to vouch for him/her as a Ghanaian before that person is registered.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) – which has dragged the EC to the Supreme Court for interpretation of the laws of Ghana relative to that contention – as well as some civil society organisations, have raised qualms with the exclusion of the current voter ID from the registration process.

Last week, the EC, in a 31-page document, wrote to the Supreme Court explaining why it excluded the current voter ID card from the exercise.