A panel of five Supreme Court Judges chaired by Chief Justice, Georgina Wood, on Thursday warned the Electoral Commission (EC) against actions that could plunge the country into chaos.
The judges say the lacklustre attitude of the EC with respect to compliance with their ruling in the Abu Ramadan suit must end.
The EC incurred the discontent of the judges when it failed to provide specific steps it is taking to expunge names of people who registered with the NHIS cards from the electoral roll.
The EC had indicated that it was using its procedures to clean the electoral roll, but this did not include steps to remove names of people who registered with NHIS cards.
Georgina Wood, who became furious at the response from the EC, slammed the desk and in a stern voice, warned the Commission they [Judges] will not sit and watch it destabilise the country, with the rest of judges nodding in agreement.
The Judges were unhappy with what they say was the EC putting its procedure ahead of their ruling.
The Supreme Court subsequently ordered the Commission to submit before it, a comprehensive list of all persons who registered with NHIS cards in 2012, by June 29.
Additionally, the apex court directed the EC to develop guidelines on the specific processes and methods it intends to adopt in implementing the orders in the May 5 judgement on the voters register.
The panel of Judges had met to clarify the Court's May 5 judgment, following contradictory interpretations proferred by the parties and lawyers on the judgement.
A former Youth Organiser of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Abu Ramadan, had prayed the court for clarification after various interest groups proffered different meanings to the Judgement.
On May 5, 2016 the Supreme Court asked the Electoral Commission to remove from the current voters’ register 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 Mr. 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 its 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, Justice Dotse 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.