Voter roll: EC not risking Christians’ wrath – Ephson

Pollster Ben Ephson Christians in Ghana will not be prejudiced against the Electoral Commission of Ghana (EC) if it fails to heed the call of the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) and the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC) to implement some recent directives given by the Supreme Court.

Ghana’s highest court on May 5, 2016, asked the election management body to purge the voter roll of minors, aliens, and the dead, in addition to persons who had had their names on the electoral register by presenting health insurance cards as a means of national identification, which the same court had said, in an earlier judgement in 2014, was not sufficient proof of citizenship. The EC was to re-register such affected persons through established procedure.

But the EC, in a press release a few days after the judgement, revealed no special exercise would be carried out to clear such persons as no legislation was in existence for that to be carried out.

The CCG and the GPCC, through a statement released on Monday June 13, advised the EC to go ahead and carry out the Supreme Court’s instructions ahead of expected presidential and parliamentary elections on November 7.

Asked if a refusal by the EC to heed the call of the two religious bodies would be viewed as disrespect by their members and lead to hostility towards it by Christians, Mr Ephson, who was speaking on Ghana Yensom on Accra100.5FM on Tuesday June 14, said: “I do not think we should underestimate the intelligence of the average Ghanaian. Being a Christian – I am a member of those two bodies – it doesn’t mean I do not understand it. [The] Christian Council [of Ghana] says EC should implement the ruling. But if the one who took the matter to court and was claiming victory now says he doesn’t understand it, does the Christian Council of Ghana understand it better than he does?”

He said there had been different “aspects” of the judgement, regarding its interpretation, an indication that the matter was not probably as straightforward for the CCG and GPCC to ask the EC to go ahead with implementation of their understanding of it.

Mr Ephson said following the May 6 ruling, the lawyer for the plaintiffs, Nana Asante Bediatuo, had stated that he would go back to the Supreme Court for further directions, adding: “The fact that a member of the panel, Justice Jones Dotse, has said: ‘Those of you who do not understand, come back for further directions’, means it is not as clear as thought.”