According to the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Electoral Commission (EC) will face opposition if it tries to utilize the Ghana as the only form of identification for voter registration prior to the elections in 2024.
A proposed C.I. titled Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2021, which is likely to govern ongoing voter registration, was presented to Parliament by the EC in July.
According to the new C.I., the EC wants to make the Ghana Card the only form of identification accepted for qualified voters who wish to register to vote.
The NDC stated in a statement that it will oppose any attempt made by the panel to do so.
“The party wishes to use this opportunity to remind the Electoral Commission that under Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution, every Ghanaian of eighteen years and above and of sound mind is entitled to register as a voter for the purposes of elections. This right to register and exercise one’s franchise is an inalienable right that should not be denied citizens who qualify to exercise same”.
The party also declared that it would not be silent while the in power NPP undermined the 2024 elections by working with the electoral commission.
“We want to reassure Ghanaians that the NDC won’t watch while the NPP government conspires with the Electoral Commission to rig the 2024 elections and subject the country to further suffering and hardship.
So, in order to prevent them from losing their rights, we are pleading with our agitated fans to maintain their composure.
The party backed the EC’s calls to abandon the notion of utilizing the Ghana Card as the only form of identification.
Read the statement’s specifics:
THE NDC HAS NO KNOWLEDGE OF THE DECISION BY THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION TO USE GHANA CARD AS THE SOLE IDENTIFICATION DOCUMENT FOR VOTER REGISTRATION.
The attention of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has been drawn to news attributed to officials of the Electoral Commission that the Commission has agreed with political parties and civil society organisations that the Ghana Card should be the sole document for the impending limited voter registration exercise.
For the avoidance of doubt, the NDC wishes to state, unequivocally, that it has not been a party to any such consultation or meeting in whatsoever form that resulted in any such decision.
The NDC will fully apprise the general public of the implications of the statements made by the Electoral Commission in the coming days on this absurd and unreasonable this decision of the EC.
In the meantime, the party wishes to use this opportunity to remind the Electoral Commission that under Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution, every Ghanaian of eighteen years and above and of sound mind is entitled to register as a voter for the purposes of elections. This right to register and exercise one’s franchise is an inalienable right that should not be denied citizens who qualify to exercise same.
Again, Article 45(e) of the Constitution enjoins the Electoral Commission to undertake programmes for the EXPANSION of the registration of voters. It is for this reason that the NDC cannot be a party to any decision that seeks to constrict access to the electoral roll or disenfranchise qualified citizens from joining the electoral roll.
The party agrees with the venerable former chairman of the Electoral Commission of Ghana, Dr. Afari Gyan that any attempt by the EC to use Ghana Card as the sole document for voter registration will lead to the disenfranchisement of millions of Ghanaians. We are not oblivious of the challenges millions of Ghanaians are going through to obtain Ghana Cards. The recent pandemonium that characterized registration centres due to the unrealistic deadlines for SIM registration is a case in point.
It is worthy of note, that according to data from the National Identification Authority (NIA), only 16,654,072 million Ghanaians out of a national population of about 31 million had registered for the Ghana card as at July 2022. Of this number, only 13,316,612 million of them have been issued with their Ghana cards. It is obvious from this data, that there are many Ghanaians who have just turned 18 years or will turn 18 years by the next limited registration period who may not have a Ghana card. And therefore any decision that seeks to make the Ghana card the sole identification document for voter registration will disenfranchise many eligible voters.
As the general public may be aware, Ghana’s National Security Strategy issued by the National Security Ministry identifies as a major risk to Ghana’s peace and security, “mistrust in the electoral process”.
It noted that “the suspicion of collusion between the ruling party and the Electoral Commission to rig elections for the ruling party continues to drive the situation towards dispute and potential violence”. The strategy further urged the Electoral Commission to “identify the sources of public mistrust in its electioneering systems and processes and take necessary action or make recommendations for addressing them”.
It is for this reason that we wish to caution the Electoral Commission to be circumspect in its actions and inactions since they have far reaching implications for the peace and security of the country.
We wish to assure Ghanaians that the NDC will not sit aloof for the NPP government to collude with Electoral Commission to rig the 2024 elections and inflict more pain and hardships on them. We are therefore urging our agitated supporters to remain calm as we take all legitimate and appropriate steps to ensure that they are not disenfranchised.
Hon. Samuel Ofosu Ampofo
All Media Houses