General News Mon, 8 Aug 2022

Notable Ghanaians who have called out EC for its decision to use only Ghana Card for voter registration

A draft Constitution Instrument (CI) by the Electoral Commission of Ghana (EC) for a limited voter registration exercise for the 2024 general election has created a lot of controversies among the populace.

The said CI, which is titled Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2021 and has been laid in Parliament, aims to continuously register Ghanaians who turn 18 using only the Ghana Card as the required document for the exercise.

Another key proposal in the bill is the creation of two voter registers, namely the electoral area register and the constituency register.

The use of only the Ghana Card as the document required for the registration is the main bone of contention now, with members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) supporting the proposal of the EC while members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) are against the move.

Like the EC, the NPP argues that the use of only the Ghana Card will help prevent election malpractices, including underage voting and the issue of non-Ghanaians voting in the country's elections. The NDC, however, argues that the move is currently not prudent and will lead to a lot of Ghanaians being disenfranchised since a lot of them do not have the Ghana Card.

GhanaWeb takes a look at five Ghanaians, including governance experts and lawyers, who have opposed the move and the reason they think that this is not the right time to use only the Ghana Card for voters' registration.

Why make Ghana Card the only means of identification? - Afari Gyan asks

No less a person than the revered former Chairman of the EC, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, has questioned the EC's proposal to use only the Ghana Card for the upcoming registration exercise.

Dr. Afari-Gyan has stated that the use of the Ghana Card as the only identification for voter registration is against electoral inclusivity, fairness and justice.

According to him, many Ghanaians are finding it difficult to get their Ghana Cards; therefore, the use of Ghana cards alone can disenfranchise millions of qualified electorates.

He questioned why the Electoral Commission is so adamant about using the Ghana Card as the only means of identification for purposes of establishing eligibility to register to vote.

"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," Graphic.com quoted Dr. Afari-Gyan in an interview.

Aside from the use of the Ghana Card, the former EC boss raised other concerns about the proposed CI, including the suggestion of having two voters' registers.

According to Dr. Afari-Gyan, the current technology for Ghana's elections is not robust enough to ensure that the use of these two registers will not prevent cheating in the upcoming elections.

"Until such time that the Biometric Verification Devices (BVDs) are configured to be interactive in this way, my concern about any of the two registers being used at the polling station on Election Day is that it opens the door more widely to two kinds of voting infractions, namely multiple voting and ballot stuffing," he noted.

It will be a travesty to use Ghana Card as the sole document for voter registration – Martin Kpebu

Renowned lawyer Martin Kpebu is another person who has criticised the EC's proposal.

The lawyer argues that the use of the Ghana Card is illegal because not every Ghanaian has it, and using it will lead to a lot of eligible voters being disenfranchised by the EC, contrary to the laws of the country citinewroom.com reports.

Lawyer Kpebu suggested that Ghana's National Identification Card (the Ghana Card) can be used as the sole document needed for one to get into the voters' register if the registration for the Ghana Card has been done for an extended period and every Ghanaian can easily acquire it.

"Perhaps we can roll out a programme, maybe over 10 years, but today to make a law… it is a farce. It is just not possible," the lawyer is quoted to have said on The Big Issue.

Kpebu, therefore, advised that the EC should allow family members and public officials to serve as guarantors for eligible Ghanaians who do not have the Ghana Card, as it has done for previous voter registration exercises.

' God has kept Ghana from civil war; the EC is tempting faith' – Mr. Kofi Bentil

Senior Vice President of IMANI Africa, Mr. Kofi Bentil, has berated the Electoral Commission (EC) for the current brouhaha surrounding the commission's upcoming voter registration exercise for the 2024 election.

Mr. Bentil accused the EC of continuously breaking the laws of Ghana, which he said puts Ghana at a high risk of a civil war.

Speaking in a JoyNews interview monitored by GhanaWeb, the IMANI vice president, who is a lawyer, added that the EC continuously refuses to listen to major stakeholders in the electoral system of Ghana and does what it wants even if it is against the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.

"We have an Electoral Commission which has become a pernicious institution. It refuses to do what is written in the law. It allocates to itself powers it does not have. It creates unnecessary costs and stress in this country.

"We have a situation where this Electoral Commission chooses not to listen to the law, not to listen to even the main parties … It (EC) just goes ahead to do what it wants to do – the EC is becoming a lawless institution. God has kept Ghana from a civil war. The EC is tempting faith," he said.

Jean Mensa is the greatest threat to our democracy – Edudzie

A Member of the NDC Legal and Communications Team, Lawyer Godwin Edudzie Tamakloe, has berated the EC Chairperson, Jean Mensa, for the decision to use only the Ghana card as proof of citizenship, describing her as the greatest threat to the country's democratic experiment.

He alleges that Jean Mensa, through her actions, is making it possible for eligible Ghanaians to be excluded from participating in the 2024 general elections.

"Jean Mensa is the biggest threat to the current democratic experiment. She is allowing Akufo Addo to exclude potential kingmakers, I mean voters, from getting on the current voter's register," the lawyer posted on Facebook on August 5, 2022.

You're playing with fire – Okudzeto Ablakwa warns EC

Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has warned the EC against its proposal to use only the Ghana Card for the upcoming registration.

Speaking on Metro TV's Good Morning Ghana after it was revealed that the NDC was not invited to that meeting to decide on the use of only the Ghana Card for the voters' register, Mr. Ablakwa alleged that the move was part of a grand scheme to rig the 2024 elections in favour of the NPP.

"There is a clear agenda to rig [the elections]… but the EC must be told in clear terms that they are playing with fire," he said.

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Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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