Deputy Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), in charge of Corporate Services, Dr. Bossman Asare, has clarified that the CI in which the Ghana Card is listed as the only proof of citizenship for purposes of electoral registration will target only persons turning 18 years, and those who could not register in the last exercise.
He said the exercise will deal with deception associated with voter registration, adding it will be a continuous registration.
Earlier, the Electoral Commission (EC’s) decision to use the Ghana Card as the only source document for continuous voter registration can disenfranchise millions of qualified electorate, a former Chairman of the EC, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, has stated.
Speaking exclusively to Graphic Online, he said with many Ghanaians finding it difficult to get their Ghana Cards, making it the only form of identification for voter registration was against electoral inclusivity, fairness and justice.
“Ghanaian citizens don’t lose their citizenship if they are 18 years or older but do not have the Ghana Card. So, the moot question is: why make the Ghana Card the only means of identification for purposes of establishing eligibility to register to vote,” Dr Afari-Gyan queried.
The longest-serving chairperson of the EC in the history of the country was sharing his thoughts in a statement made available to Graphic Online exclusively on a new Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) on voter registration which has been laid before Parliament by the EC.
The Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), Professor Kenneth Attafuah, disclosed to the media last month that his outfit had handed over 15.7 million Ghana Cards to Ghanaians, out of 16,969,034, who had registered.
For Dr Afari-Gyan, who served for 22 years between 1993 and 2015, the fact that the number of people with Ghana Cards included those below the voting age of 18, and juxtaposing that with the Ghana Statistical Service’s projection that people aged 18 years and above would hit 19.5 million in 2023, the potential for many people to be disenfranchised as a result of the use of the Ghana Card as the only source document for voter registration was high.
He advised the EC to take a careful look at its insistence on the Ghana Card because in spite of its crucial role in elections, the EC was not the decider of elections, but rather the electorate.
“The electorate are the kingmakers. So, a basic responsibility of any electoral commission is to facilitate the realisation of the people’s right to register as voters, and not to obstruct that right by demanding for registration purposes documents that are not easily accessible to the people,” he added.
Last month, the EC placed before Parliament a draft C.I titled: Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2021, which is expected to regulate continuous voter registration.
Per the new C.I, which would become law after 21 sitting days of Parliament, the EC is seeking to make the Ghana Card the sole form of identification for eligible voters who want to get unto the electoral roll.
The C.I has been referred to the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament. By convention, the committee is chaired by a member of the Minority group.
Orders, rules or regulations made pursuant to provisions of the Constitution or an Act of Parliament must be laid before Parliament for 21 sitting days before they come into force.
Any such subsidiary legislations so laid are referred to the committee to determine whether it is in accordance with the general objectives of the constitution or the Act pursuant to which it is being made.
It also determines whether the legislation contains any matter, which in the opinion of the committee should be dealt with in an Act of Parliament; directly or indirectly bars the jurisdiction of the courts; gives retrospective effect to any provision contrary to provisions of the Constitution or an existing Act; involves expenditure from the Consolidated Fund or has a form or structure which calls for further elucidation, among other things.