The Member of Parliament for South Dayi, Hon. Rockson-Nelson E.K. Dafeamekpor, has charged the Chief Justice to expedite action on hearing a case before the court bothering on the legitimacy or otherwise of the use of the Voters’ ID card as source document for the purpose of registration to obtain the Ghana Card, an exercise that is ongoing under the command of the National Identification Authority (NIA).
The Hon. Member of Parliament made this call in a press release referencing the case title Strategic Thinkers Network vs. Attorney General & NIA in which the plaintiff sought the court’s interpretation on the decision by the NIA to exclude the use of Voters’ ID card as means of identification for enrolment onto the Ghana Card platform. Read the full statement below:
18th April, 2019
EXPEDITE ACTION ON THE ‘USE OF VOTERS’ID CARD’ CASE BEFORE THE COURTS, CJ.
1. With reference to the pending case before the Supreme Court, under the title Strategic Thinkers Network vrs. Attorney General & NIA on the legitimacy or otherwise of the use of the Voters’ ID card as a valid identification source document for the purpose of registering for the Ghana Card, an exercise that is ongoing for the past one year under the auspices of the National Identification Authority (NIA), I write to urge the Chief Justice (CJ) to direct for the expeditious hearing of this case as it has serious ramifications on the sanctity of the entire registration exercise ongoing, for the purpose of providing an identity card for everyone resident in the Republic of Ghana.
2. It a matter of record, that, there are over 18 million registered voters on our Voters Register, with all of them holding the Voters’ID card as their main form of identification. It was argued variously that excluding holders of this card from an exercise that is expected to produce database for the purpose of identifying who is and who is not a Ghanaian, would unnecessarily exclude a larger number of our population who have birth rights as Ghanaians.
3. On the basis of this, it was expected that the Chief Justice under whose administrative authority our Courts are assigned cases to hear as well as empanel them, would expedite action in ensuring an expeditious and swift hearing of the matter by the Supreme Court presently seised with same for its final determination which would clear any doubt regarding the use or otherwise of the said card.
4. It must be emphasized that the registration exercise is already ongoing, and had excluded legitimate Ghanaians who hold only the Voters’ID cards as their only means of identification. The view that, the holders of Voters’ ID cards far outnumber those who have the two primary documents required for one to enrol on the Ghana Card system which are the Passport and Birth Certificate, cannot be overemphasized.
5. Indeed, we all would agree that we need a credible register of Ghanaians on a platform that makes for easy identification, but, that exercise, must not be seen to be aimed at denying people their rights as citizens undergo the registration process legitimately.
6. It was my expectation that, the quick determination of the aforementioned case before the Courts, would impact largely on the effectiveness of the registration exercise, and for that matter, one would have expected that the Courts would gauge the mood of the nation and hear this case with dispatch. But alas, that is not to be. The present state of affairs is an affront to the hallowed principle of interest reipublicae ut sit finis litium. To wit; it is in the interest of the republic that litigation must have an end. Let us be so guided by this principle of law in this matter.
7. As a Member of the Judiciary Committee of Parliament, I am pained by the apparent lack of urgency required for the Court to move with alacrity to hear this case in view of the very high interest the public has in this matter. Justice delayed is justice denied. I hope this trite policy position underpinning the express hearing of cases by our Courts is not lost on the CJ.
8. This statement is therefore aimed at drawing the attention of the office of the Chief Justice, to take all the necessary steps to ensure that this matter is prioritised and heard quickly. Indeed, it is quite normal for our Courts to be directed to hear very important cases on daily basis and this Suit qualifies as such.
Rockson-Nelson E.K. Dafeamekpor Esq., MP, South Dayi