Parliament by a majority decision, 106 – 92 has approved the recommendation of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee to adopt its report on the Constitutional Instrument (C.I. 126).
The C.I. 126 makes the Ghana Card and the Ghanaian passport the only legal identification documents for registering people in the new biometric voters’ register.
Some Ghanaians have, however, accused the Electoral Commission and the majority in parliament of double standards for rejecting the birth certificate as a legal identification while accepting the passport as a legal identification for the compilation of the new register.They argue that people can only procure the passport and the Ghana card using the birth certificate.
However, the chairperson of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee in parliament, Hon. Ben Abdallah Banda, has commented that the process for obtaining a passport is more rigorous than the birth certificate thus making it difficult for foreigners to obtain a passport.
He made these comments in an interview with Samuel Eshun on the Happy Morning Show aired on Happy 98.9FM.
“This is not double standards. The birth certificate is not produced with any sourced document. You are only asked personal details. However, the passport is obtained with a sourced document to prove that you are a Ghanaian. But that is not enough. According to the passport act, the passport authorities must probe even more despite the information you submit to authenticate the information given. They have the power to go behind you and verify. But because we complain about inadequate resource, lack of technical know-how, we don’t follow that process. That explains why some people hold the Ghanaian passports even though they are not citizens”.
What I mean is that it is not everyone with a passport that is a Ghanaian and not everyone who has a birth certificate is a Ghanaian. These are two evils but we believe the passport is a better evil than the birth certificate because processes leading to the procurement of either of them is completely different”, he said.
Under the C.I. 126 submitted to parliament by the Electoral Commission, those who do not have the Ghana Card or Ghanaian passport can still register provided they are able to get two already registered voters to vouch for them.
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