Justice Jones Dotse, a member of the seven-panel Supreme Court judges who ruled on the controversial voters’ register case, has recused himself from a fresh suit seeking further clarification on the same matter.
It is unclear why Justice Dotse took that decision. However it comes barely few weeks after he made some comments in relation to the matter.
Few days after the court ordered the EC to remove the names of persons whose names were captured onto the electoral roll using the NHIS cards as a form of identification, the Electoral Commission said the ruling did not explicitly ask them to remove such names using any new procedures.
Amidst the back and forth over the true meaning of the ruling, Justice Dotse granted a media interview in which he said the ruling was not ambiguous, and that they clearly asked the EC to remove such names.
“…we [Supreme Court] said the use of the NHIS cards is therefore unconstitutional and it should take the opportunity to clean the register of those undesirable persons.”
He noted that “we also do not want to disenfranchise anybody so the Supreme Court went on to say that anybody who will be affected by that exercise should be given the opportunity to register according to the law and the constitution, period.”
Meanwhile, another member of the panel, Joseph Acamba, is also said to be on retirement hence cannot sit on the case.
Supreme court warns EC
Citi News‘ Fred Djabanor reported that, the Supreme Court today [Thursday], gave a a strong warning to Electoral Commission that it won’t allow the commission to plunge the country into chaos.
He said the visibly unhappy Justices presided over Chief Justice Theodora Wood, indicated their displeasure over the lackadaisical attitude of the EC in complying with their orders in the Abu Ramadan suit.
According to Fred, the EC failed to give specific measures they are putting in place to delete names of voters who registered with NHIS cards.
“According to them they were complying with the orders of the court by using the laid down legal procedures to remove the names,” he added.
A former National Youth Organizer of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Abu Ramadan and Evans Nimako who first filed a case on the voters’ register have filed a fresh suit at the Supreme Court seeking further clarification.
Abu Ramanadan had previously served notice he will be forced to cite the EC for contempt if the commission fails to implement the order by the Supreme Court.
The apex court on May 5, asked the Electoral Commission to expunge from the current voters’ register the names of all persons who registered and voted in the 2012 elections, with the NHIS card as a proof of identity.
The ruling followed a suit filed by Abu Ramadan, and one, Evans Nimako, who in 2014 won a lawsuit that barred the use of NHIS cards for registration.
The two, among other reliefs, wanted the current register declared inappropriate for the November polls.
But the EC after studying the ruling said it’s understanding does not suggest the use of any new process to delete the names of those who registered with NHIS cards, since there are already laid down procedures for expunging ineligible names.
The EC’s explanation however angered Mr. Ramadan who felt the Commission was disrespecting the explicit orders of the court. His position was further strengthened when one of the judges who gave the May 5 ruling, stated categorically that the ruling was clear and unambiguous and that the EC must remove the names of persons who registered with the NHIS card.
By: Godwin A. Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana