Minority Leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu, Thursday night scored the Supreme Court a disappointing low, describing as a blot the apex court’s approval for the Electoral Commission to exclude existing voters ID cards as a required document for registration as a voter .
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) had sought orders at the Supreme Court directed at the EC to include existing voters IDs in its compilation of a new register for the December 2020 general elections, however, a unanimous decision by the seven man court, chaired by the Chief Justice, dismissed the relief.
Hours after the decision, Haruna was ushered in at a media encounter to introduce NDC’s Leader and Flagbearer, former President John Dramani Mahama, who had something to say in reaction to the ruling.
Said the Minority Leader, who acknowledged that the Supreme Court’s power and mandate to referee cases and interpret the laws: “It’s only instructive, and that is why we are here, that the Supreme Court will give a ruling with blurred edges and with synthetical ambiguities; that the very Supreme Court which has the primary responsibility and duty to throw light and to interpret to avoid absurdity, itself will give a ruling which consequence is absurdity, and therefore the only person who can calm nerves and get Ghanaians committed to the pursuit of the entitled and guaranteed rights under Article 42 is no mean a person than John Dramani Mahama.”
With these remarks he ushered in John Mahama, who minced no words expressing the party’s deep disappointment with the Court’s ruling.
But he proceeded to rally all, including party followers and all others who feel disappointed in the performance of the government, to turn up in their numbers to register to enable them vote out the ‘bungling’ government.
“The exclusion of the old Voters ID card, which has been used to conduct several elections under the current leadership of the Electoral Commission and from which the current President derives his mandate is aimed at deliberately disenfranchising some Ghanaians who have falsely been branded foreigners without any basis.
“The restriction of primary identification to passports, Ghana Cards and the resort to guaranteeing for others is a ruse to create frustration in the hope that it will discourage millions from registering and in the process give advantage ab initio to a bungling incumbent.
“The Ghana Card, which has been made one of two identification documents has not been rolled out in full.
“As we speak, these cards are still being issued with no mechanism for verification.
“The National Identification Authority itself has admitted to duplication of thousands of these cards
“Therefore, the NDC’s decision to go to the Supreme Court, was informed by the party’s time-honoured belief and commitment to an inclusive democracy as opposed to the NPP’s exclusiveness.
“However, it was obvious from the outset of this struggle that inclusive democracy was not going to have a hearing, even against the resounding call by the National House of Chiefs, religious leaders, CSOs and the various trade and professional groups.
“My brothers and sisters, the right to vote must however not be curtailed on account of this minor setback for inclusion.
“We cannot throw our hands up in despair because the fight to insist on inclusion has been temporarily derailed by this ruling.
“We can still make our voices heard even if we must endure some inconvenience and frustration.
“To achieve the objective of taking part in the decision over who governs us, we must be willing to make the necessary sacrifices in the present circumstances.
“I therefore urge all Ghanaians of voting age to channel the disappointment at the effort to exclude them from the electoral process into an opportunity to have their voices heard and turn up to register in their teeming numbers, when the process begins next week Tuesday.
“The NPP and the EC are very much aware that the exclusion of the existing voter ID will significantly slow down the process of registration and create the real risk of people massing up outside the voting centers.
“But this is what happens when politics is put before the people.
“While at it, let us keep safe by adhering strictly to all COVID-19 preventive protocols, such as social distancing, the wearing of face masks among others, particularly because of the increasing trend in the number of infections and deaths recorded.
“I pray that the almighty God shall protect all our citizens who come out to exercise their constitutional right to register from any sickness or infection by any disease.
“The process may be made deliberately slow and painful, but I encourage you all to endure it in so far as it would enable you vote out this government that has masterminded that frustration in the first place.
“We must always be willing to hold leaders accountable for bad decisions that impose difficulties on citizens and this is one clear opportunity to do so. Do not let the several hours you may spend at the registration centre get you to surrender your right to vote.
“That would only embolden those who seek to disenfranchise you.
“To the few who have passports and Ghana cards, make use of them and register.
“To those who get the opportunity to register, I implore you to assist your brother, sister and compatriot by guaranteeing for them even if it takes a bit more of your time.
“See this as a civic duty and your contribution to the effort to preserve the right to vote.
“This way, we will undo the grand conspiracy to deprive us of the inalienable right to vote and we will in the process send a clear signal that it is only we the people who will decide who gets the opportunity to lead this country and not the governments we elect or state agencies who make themselves pliant accomplices in the attempt to disenfranchise us.
“This is not just an NDC fight, it is a fight to rescue the very soul of our beloved country from the hands of those who seek to impose their will unjustly on the people.
“Our forefathers founded this nation with the motto “Freedom and Justice”.
“It is clear today that never in the history of our 4th Republic have these two lofty ideals been in such short supply.
“I salute the all the diverse organizations, Civil Society Organizations, prominent chiefs, organized labor, professional groups and all well-meaning Ghanaians who have rallied around this cause to demand that the right thing be done in the larger national interest.
“I call on all Ghanaians who yearn to see a change in the governance of this country to rise up and be counted for where there is a will, there is a way.
“No politically engineered register can save this failed government from the inevitable defeat that awaits them in the next 165 days.
“With or without a new voters register, the NDC shall win this election by the grace of God.”