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Voter registration exercise: EC chair, two other cited for contempt

Precious Ayitah, a resident of Otsebleku, near Afienya in the Greater Accra Region, has filed a contempt application against the chair of the Electoral Commission (EC) and her two deputies, Bossman Eric Asare and Samuel Tettey.

The contempt action, according to Ayitah’s motion, was filed because of the EC’s decision to proceed with the 2023 limited voter registration exercise starting today (Tuesday 12 September) and running until Monday 2 October 2023, in spite of Ayitah’s injunction application against the process.

Contention of applicant

In her motion filed on notice on Tuesday 12 September 2023, Ms Ayitah argues that the EC has disregarded the said injunction application and further continued to state publicly its intention to continue with the limited voter registration exercise in its current form.

“That on the 11th of September 2023, there was a press release by the Electoral Commission stating that the limited registration exercise will begin on the 12th September 2023 at its 268 district offices of the Electoral Commission [sic],” says the motion filed at the court.

“That the respondents’ act of putting measures in place to go ahead with the limited registration exercise in its district offices whilst this court is yet to hear and determine the applicant’s interlocutory injunction application is prejudicial to the outcome of the application before the court, and is calculated to prejudice and overreach the applicant’s originating motion on notice and injunction application pending before this Honourable Court,” the motion says.

“The respondents’ intentions to continue with the limited voter registration exercise at its district offices jeopardizes [sic] the outcome of the applicant’s Interlocutory Injunction Application and the substantive suit before this court and is therefore contemptuous of this Honourable Court.

“The EC chairperson and her two deputies deserve a custodial prison sentence and nothing less for bringing the administration of justice into disrepute. I humbly pray that this Honourable Court commits the respondents to prison for contempt of this Honourable Court” Ms Ayitah’s motion further prays the court.

Interlocutory application

In her originating motion filed on notice on Friday 8 September 2023, the applicant (Precious Ayitah) says that she resides at Otsebleku, near Afienya in the Greater Accra Region of the Republic of Ghana, which is roughly 44.3 kilometres from the district office of the Electoral Commission in Prampram using the Accra-Aflao Road and about 37.5 kilometres away using the Akosombo-Accra Road.

“I cannot afford the cost of moving from my residence at Otsebleku to the EC district office at Prampram to take part in the limited voter registration exercise and that the limited registration centre designated in my electoral area will be closer in proximity to my residence,” Ayitah Precious says in her motion.

“That the decision of the EC to restrict the limited registration exercise to its district offices, instead of opening up the registration exercise to the already existing electoral areas that are more accessible to me, amounts to a suppression and a breach of my right to vote,” the applicant further states in supporting documents filed at the court.

District-level elections

On 17 August 2023, the chair of the Electoral Commission, Jean Mensa, announced at a press briefing in Accra dubbed “Let the Citizen Know” that it would commence a registration exercise for eligible Ghanaians who have turned 18, and other eligible citizens who have not been able to register since the 2020 voter registration exercise, on Tuesday 12 September.

The EC chair also announced that the exercise will end on Monday 2 October 2023 and that registration will take place at all 268 district offices of the Electoral Commission across Ghana.

The district-level elections that have been the trigger for the limited voter registration will take place on Tuesday 19 December, the EC chair further announced. It will take place in all 6,272 electoral areas encompassing all the districts in Ghana, with the exception of Nkoranza North and Nkoranza South Districts of the Bono Region. Local elections will take place in these two areas in 2025.

First sitting

A copy of the suit by Precious Ayitah, filed at the registry of the high court, states that the preliminary hearing of the case will take place on Monday 16 October 2023.

The lawyer representing the applicant is Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo.



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