Maybe somebody ought to inform Mrs. Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei that every ruling handed down by the Supreme Court is final and cannot be appealed.

charlotte-osei-3Thus it comes as nothing short of the downright heretical to learn that rather than promptly implement the Apex Court’s order for the Electoral Commission to immediately expunge the names of all voters who illegally registered to vote via the use of the National Health Insurance Scheme’s ID Cards from our National Voters’ Register (NVR), the EC Chair and her associates have chosen to play a game of dalliance or passive resistance with the ruling (See “EC Not Decided Yet On Removal of NHIS-Registrants from the Voters’ Register” Modernghana.com 5/13/16).

It may be recalled that prior to its latest ruling on the National Voters’ Register, the Supreme Court had already ruled that the usage of the NHIS Cards by registrants was invalid, because there existed incontrovertible evidence pointing to the fact that there was quite a significant number of non-Ghanaian nationals in possession of these cards who may well have illegally used them to register to vote in the 2012 general election. Now, what needs to be done, and promptly so, down the road will be for the Ministry of Health (MoH) to launch an investigative exercise into the entire process of the acquisition of the NHIS Cards by foreign nationals, mostly citizens from neighboring countries like Togo, Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, if our nation’s healthcare system is not to be unduly burdened by people who have absolutely no legal right to accessing the same.

Indeed, it constitutes an act of double criminality for illegal users of our NHIS Cards to be also permitted to vote to decide whom Ghanaian leaders ought to be. We also know that some local and national key operatives of some political parties, particularly our two major political parties, namely, the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), had caused to be illegally registered some foreign nationals by the use of our NHIS Cards as a prime inducement. We know this largely through extensive investigative research conducted by a New Patriotic Party-sponsored team of technical experts led by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the former Deputy-Governor of the Bank of Ghana and three-time Vice-Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party.

At any rate, the decision by the Mahama-appointed Electoral Commission Chair to play fast-and-loose with the latest Supreme Court ruling on the NHIS Cards, ought to give any well-meaning Ghanaian citizen great cause for concern. Needless to say, how and when to implement the latest Supreme Court ruling is non-negotiable; and, to be certain, it is not the peremptory judgment call of either Mrs. Osei or any of her associate commissioners at the headquarters of the “Independent” Electoral Commission. Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan’s successor has also publicly informed the nation that she intends to turn over a new leave, by becoming the most evenhanded Electoral Commission Chair in Ghana’s postcolonial history. So far, however, Commissioner Osei has not demonstrated any remarkably that hers is a morally refreshing improvement on the patently mediocre performance of her predecessor. And the problem here, of course, is the fact that time is fast running out for Mrs. Osei to prove herself to be otherwise.

So far, what we have learned from the Electoral Commission’s Chair, via Mr. Owusu Parry, the Acting Public Affairs Director of the EC, is that the EC is studying the Supreme Court “judgment,” and that once the Commission has finished studying the same, it intends to “officially come out with its [own] decision on what it is going to do with NHIS registrants on the national voters’ roll.” The EC operatives may be asking for serious trouble, to cavalierly suppose that they can act apart from the strictest interpretation of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Needless to say, as a professionally trained lawyer, Mrs. Osei ought to fully appreciate the fact that a Supreme Court “ruling” is not the same as the “judgment” of an inferior court. Simply put, a Supreme Court ruling can only be implemented. It is final. There are no but’s and if’s here. The Supreme Court is the court of last resort; and any mischievous attempt to defy the Apex Court’s ruling will be inescapably tantamount to a declaration of war on Ghanaian democracy. Is this really what Mrs. Osei is asking for?

Source: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
E-mail: [email protected]

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