C.I. to Make Ghana Card Sole Document for Registration Will Enhance Ghana’s Democratic Reputation – CDS Africa
The Centre for Democracy and Socio-economic Development (CDS) Africa has welcomed the proposed Constititional Instrument (CI) that is seeking to reform the electoral process in Ghana including making the Ghana Card the sole Identification document for voter registeration.
CDS Africa said it considers the reforms to be strong and forward-looking, and anticipates that they will enhance Ghana’s democratic reputation.
A statement jointly issued by Dr Frank Bannor and Dr. Abena Boateng, Senior Research and Policy Analyst and Director of Research respectively at CDS Africa said the recent announcement by the National Identification Authroity (NIA) that it is ready to print more Ghana cards is a positive development.
The settlement of the GH¢100 million debt owed to its creditors by the government will give the NIA the financial backing it needs to complete its mandate of issuing Ghana cards to all eligible citizens,the statement added.
“If the NIA can deliver on its promise to print and distribute more Ghana cards in time for the voter registration, it will go a long way in ensuring that every eligible citizen can participate in the electoral process. This will be a significant step in strengthening Ghana’s democratic credentials and ensuring that the voice of every citizen is heard. On that score, CDS Africa agrees with the proposed reforms of CI 126 by the Electoral Commission of Ghana, particularly the adoption of Ghana Card as the only document for registering new voters. We consider these reforms to be strong and forward-looking, and we anticipate that they will enhance Ghana’s democratic reputation.
“However, it is important all sides of the house carefully consider the contents of the CI and engage in constructive dialogue to ensure that any concerns are addressed before it is enacted into law. The democratic process in Ghana is built on transparency, accountability, and dialogue, and it is essential that these principles are upheld in the legislative process. We would therefore urge parliament to engage in a fruitful debate to ensure the provisions in the CI are fine-tuned with the greatest interest of the nation at heart, and towards a more transparent voters register which will stand the test of time.
“CDS Africa would urge the government to provide adequate funding to the Electoral Commission and the National Identification Authority (NIA) to facilitate the resolution of the pending applications for Ghana Cards. Furthermore, should these reforms be passed by parliament we implore the authorities to expedite the registration and issuance of Ghana Cards for all citizens and take measures to prevent any form of voter disenfranchisement.
At the same time, CDS Africa would strongly encourage the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to partner with the Electoral Commission to promote awareness of the reforms through civic education and prevent the spread of misinformation among the public. We believe that such collaboration will promote transparency and ensure that citizens are adequately informed about the proposed changes should it be passed by parliament. The Electoral Commission has showcased its ability to fulfil its responsibilities by registering over 17 million voters in just 38 days during the COVID-19 pandemic. CDS Africa encourages the Electoral Commission to maintain its excellent efforts in promoting transparent and equitable elections in Ghana.”
The Chair of the Electoral Commission (EC) Jean Mensa on Tuesday, February 28 brifed Parliament on the proposed CI.
She told the House that the use of the Ghana Card as the sole identification document for voter registration would ensure a credible voter roll.
She said it would also prevent minors and foreigners from getting onto the electoral register to vote.
Madam Jean Mensa said “The use of only Ghana Card will ensure and guarantee the credibility of the register and elections, prevent enrolment of minors, prevent foreigners from voting, eliminate the guarantor system which is prone to abuse.”
“The Ghana Card will not be used for voting in 2024, it will be used to register,” she said.
Regarding a revelation by Tamale South Member of Parliament Haruna Iddrisu that there were about 3.5million people without Ghana Crad, she said the National Identification Authority (NIA) has told the commission that ” there are 3.5 blank cards in the warehouse, money have been released and funds are being released.”
The Minority have been raising issues against the proposed CI.
On Thursday, February 23, they rejected officials from the EC and the National Identification (NIA) who were in Parliament to brief the House on the proposed CI.
They were expecting Madam Jean Mensa herself to appear.
The Member of Parliament or Tamale South Haruna Iddrisu said that the Minority are opposed to any move by the EC to use the Ghana Card as the sole identification document for voter registration.
He says any such move by the EC will hurt the right to vote and be voted for.
Speaking on the Big Issue via telephone on TV3 Monday, February 27, the former Minority Leader indicated that there are 3.5million people who are without Ghana Card.
He questioned whether the EC is going to deny all these 3.5 million people from exercising their right to vote because they do not have a Ghana Card.
“There is the right to vote and be voted for, the NDC will defend that right,” he said.
“We are contesting the use of Ghana Crad as the sole reference for purposes of getting registered as a voter,” he said.
He stressed “the right to vote and be voted for is sacred. 3.5 million people don’t have the card, can you tell these 3.5 million persons not to vote?”