Mosquito sends Ghanaians on wild goose chase
The General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia, popularly known as General Mosquito, sent many Ghanaians, particularly supporters of his party, into a state of delusion over the ruling of the Supreme Court on the suit his party filed against the Electoral Commission (EC).
Minutes after the court had given its ruling yesterday, General Mosquito granted an interview in which he declared that the court had upheld its relief to include the current voter identification card as proof of eligibility, to enable one to register in the upcoming voter registration exercise.
Key personalities, mostly communicators of the NDC, took to their social media handles to spread the supposed good news announced by their scribe, putting them in a comfortable lead.
In the interview, Johnson Asiedu Nketia said the party had been vindicated, juxtaposing the court’s previous and current ruling on who is qualified to be registered and to exercise the power of voting.
According to him, the court had “granted our request for the inclusion of the existing voter ID card as a valid document for the compilation of the voter register, and we are most grateful. I think that this is the most substantive issue for which we came to court.
“We feel vindicated, because the court itself, in an earlier ruling, clearly stated that the possession of an existing voter’s ID card means that the holder is a citizen of Ghana who is qualified to be registered and to exercise his or her power.
“So, the court couldn’t have gone back to its earlier ruling. And it did also admit that the right to vote, once is accrued to a person, cannot be taken back in the whimsical and capricious manner in which the Electoral Commission sought to do,” he ended.
Both the traditional and social media were awash following these statements.
Some journalists, who were present, were left hanging as to exactly what the court said.
All this while, social media was being inundated with comments, mostly stating the same position as Mr Asiedu Nketia.
Later, the narrative changed, and a new interpretation revealed that the Supreme Court had actually, in a unanimous decision, dismissed the relief Asiedu Nketia said was granted, for which he said the party had been vindicated.
Many who have described the ruling as a heavy blow to the NDC, believed it resonated with Mr Asiedu Nketia’s statement in 2012, that in a democratic dispensation “any idiot can go to court.”
Meanwhile, a Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, in a rebuttal, said the commentary by the General Secretary was very ridiculous and oratory. He said it was untenable that General Mosquito would come out of the court to say something contrary to what the court said.
He indicated that the court dismissed the substantive relief sought by the NDC, and even what was granted, was already clear in the 1992 Constitution.
The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, dismissed the NDC’s action in the consolidated cases of the NDC versus Attorney General, & EC and Mark Takyi-Banson versus EC & Attorney General.
The consolidated suits were praying the court to declare as unconstitutional the decision of the EC not to admit the existing voters’ identification card as a valid document for the new registration exercise.
The court, in a summary of its ruling, however, granted two reliefs, which were that upon true and proper interpretation of provisions of the Constitution, specifically article 51, read conjointly with article 42, the EC must exercise its power to compile a new register, subject to respect for and the protection of the right to vote.
And then, a declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution, particularly article 42, upon the registration of and issuance of a voter identification card to a person, that person has an accrued right to vote, which cannot be divested in an arbitrary and capricious manner.
These relieves were granted for the EC to work upon, but, in pursuant to CI 126, which excludes the current voters’ ID card for registration.
The Supreme Court further ordered that the EC should proceed with the registration exercise as planned, subject to the provisions in CI 126.
The court also ordered that all other cases pending at any other court, regarding the EC and the new voters’ registration exercise, shall apply this same ruling.
Presided over by Chief Justice Anin Yeboah, the seven-member panel of the Supreme Court that decided the case, included Justices Jones Dotse, Baffoe-Bonnie, Sule Gbadegbe, Samuel Marful-Sau, Nene Amegatcher, and Professor Nii Ashie Kotey.