The Majority caucus in Parliament has thrown its weight behind the Electoral Commission (EC)’s proposed Constitutional Instrument (CI), which seeks to make the Ghana Card the sole document for the purposes of identification and registration as a voter.
According to the caucus, the National Identification Authority (NIA)’s system that produces the Ghana Card was robust and would ensure that only eligible Ghanaians secured the card to enroll onto the voter roll.
At a press conference in Parliament, Accra, yesterday, the Caucus Leader and MP for Suame, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said the use of the Ghana Card would “sanitise and purify” Ghana’s electoral roll.
The Minority caucus in Parliament has expressed their opposition to the proposed CI, urging the Commission to add alternative forms of identification like the guarantee system.
They argue that should the yet-to-be-laid CI pass in its current form, many Ghanaians, especially rural dwellers, would be disenfranchised.
But the Majority contends the decision by the EC is in conformity with the National Identity Register Regulations, 2012, which makes the Ghana Card the source document for the registration of voters.
“Over the years different identification documents have been used to establish citizenship, but gradually and one after the other, the Commission has peeled off some of these instruments of identification.
“Did it mean that when those identifications were taken out, it was intended to restrain the right of citizens to vote?” Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who is also the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, asked.
In his estimation, there were more Ghanaians with baptismal certificate, birth certificate, health insurance card and driver’s licence than there were with passports, but those identification documents have been outlawed for registration as a voter.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the EC did not restrict registration document to the Ghana Card in the 2012, 2016 and 2020 registration exercises, because only a fraction of the citizenry possessed the Ghana Card.
For example in 2012, he said, less than 10,000 Ghanaians were issued with the Ghana Card against a voting population of 12 million, and less than 220,000 in 2016 against a voting population of about 15 million and 10 million against a voting population of over 17 million in 2020.
“Today as we speak, of the total population of 31 million, 17,375,861 people including 15-year olds have registered for the Ghana Card.
“The component of 18-year olds who have registered is 16,985,548 which compares with EC voter register of 18 years and above of over 17 million which is very close,” Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said.
The data, he said, meant many more Ghanaians have the Ghana Card for same to be the source document for the voter register, with expected two million more people coming onboard by 2024 as projected by the 2021 population and housing census of the Statistical Service.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the NIA data system was much more robust than the EC’s and had attracted the trust of dozens of institutions to rely on same for identification “so if the Commission also wants to (use the Ghana card as the sole document) what is wrong with it?”
He said the robustness of the system was evident when it flagged 95,942 persons, who attempted multiple registrations; a number he said could determine a winner in the presidential race and 11 people with same passport numbers.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI
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