NDC sues EC over registration of students in schools

NDC General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has dragged the Electoral Commission (EC) to court for its decision to register Senior High School students on their campuses.

The NDC wants an injunction against the registration, arguing the school centres were not captured in the gazette governing the exercise.

The party wants the court to prevent the EC and its officials from “organising, conducting, and or asking any steps in furtherance of registering Senior High School students or students of any second-cycle institution or registering anybody for that matter on campuses of such senior high schools or ant second-cycle institution not gazette, published and or contained in any notification in accordance with the Regulation 2 subsection (3) or any other Regulation or subsections of CI 91 as amended by CI 126 and or unless the said registration centres or school campuses are contained in the Gazette number 77 of Tuesday, May 26, 2020”.

The case, filed at the High Court on Friday, July 10, will be heard by the court on July 20 even though the EC scheduled the exercise for Friday and Saturday.

The NDC is seeking “a declaration that it is illegal and wrongful for the Defendant (EC) to conduct registration at any place, including campuses of Senior High Schools which was not contained in the Gazette and notification in accordance with C.I. 91”.

They also want “a declaration that any such registration of voters including students that takes place at any ungazetted and unpublished registration centre including Senior High School campuses is null and void and of no legal effect”.

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The EC had told thegahareport.com that it would extend the ongoing new voter registration exercise to SHSs across the country.

Furthermore, they want the court to order the exclusion of names of persons registered at those centres from the register of voters.

Additionally, the NDC hopes to get an order “for perpetual injunction restraining the Defendant (EC) whether by itself, officers, agents, or any other functionary personnel from carrying out registration of voters in any Senior High School or place not duly gazetted or published in accordance with C.I. 91 as amended”.

The Director of Electoral Services at the EC, Dr Serebour Quaicoe, said the students would be registered from Friday, July 10 to Saturday, July 11, for students at the premises of their educational institutions.

He explained that the Ghana Education Service (GES) wrote to the EC that the COVID-19 protocols for schools prevent students from going out of campus, and this would hamper the participation of eligible students.

After deliberations with officials, the EC outlined a plan to prevent the students from being disenfranchised by going to the schools to register them.

Because of that, mobile registration teams from registration centres close to SHSs have been dispatched to the schools to register applicants.

The plan was presented to political parties and their representatives at an emergency Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting on Thursday, July 9.

Reports from the meeting suggest that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) approved the plan while the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) rejected it.

Meanwhile, the National Council of Parent-Teacher Associations of Ghana has also opposed the decision of the EC.

Alexander Danso, the President of the National Council of PTA said they were not consulted before conclusions on the matter.

Furthermore, he pointed out that the students were in school to learn and not for purposes of registration for voter ID cards.

Lastly, he stressed that the exercise will expose the student to the COVID-19 diseased that had rocked the country and other global nations.

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