Automatic deletion of NHIS voters’ dangerous – Atuguba


37376434The Supreme Court of Ghana cannot order an automatic deletion of persons who registered onto the electoral roll using the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cards as a proof of identification because such an order will be dangerous for the constitutional democracy in Ghana, Dr Raymond Atuguba, a senior law lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana has said.

The highest court of the land, earlier this week, asked the Electoral Commission (EC) to implement the order it gave on May 5 – deletion of names of persons, who registered with NHIS cards, and allow them to re-register using the right means of identification.

But Dr Atuguba in an article argues that such an order did not mean an automatic deletion of the names. If it were an automatic deletion, he added, such automaticity may be applied to everything else and that will be dangerous for the country’s democracy, he said.

In the article, the former Executive Secretary to President John Dramani Mahama said: “Read my lips: the Supreme Court has not and cannot order automatic deletion of names from the Register. Names on the Voters Register can only be deleted with and through the safeguard of due process.”

He added: “In the orders the Supreme Court gave on Monday [July 5], it added that those affected should not only be allowed to re-register, they should be informed about the deletion and the opportunity to re-register. They also added that the information and opportunity should reach them and be afforded them in time for them to take advantage of it and participate in the 2016 elections. These are further due process safeguards that underline the right to information and the right to vote of the NHIS Registrants”.

“The Supreme Court is acutely aware that requiring automaticity will be dangerous for our constitutional democracy, as such automaticity may be applied to everything else. As I have noted before, in an election year, this could mean automatic shutdown of social media without due process; automatic throwing of people in jail by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) without due process for alleged election infractions.”