By Benjamin A. Commey
Accra, Sept 21, GNA — The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has demanded an immediate cessation of work on the draft Constitution Instrument (C.I.) which will make the Ghana Card the sole document for voter registration.
The Party said this was to allow for more consultation and engagement with relevant stakeholders to fine-tune the Instrument to address all concerns.
Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, the National Chairman of the NDC, who made the call at a news conference in Accra, said the Party had noticed with concern various discrepancies in the newly proposed C.I. that sought to make the Ghana Card the sole source of identification for the acquisition of a voters’ card.
He noted that the C.I., if passed in its current form, would not only unconstitutional, but radically disenfranchise many prospective voters.
Citing Regulation 1(3) of the newly proposed Instrument that: “A person who applies for registration as a voter shall provide evidence of identification of National Identity Card issued by the National Identification Authority,” Mr Ampofo said the Instrument, if passed with the regulation would radically change the current regime for proving one’s identity.
Under the current regulations (C.I. 126), a person who qualifies to register as a voter may prove his or her identity by either presenting a valid Ghana passport, a national identity card (not national identity card issued by the National Identification Authority as proposed in this C.I.), or a voter registration identification form signed by two registered voters within the community.
“What the EC proposes to do with the new C.I. is to eliminate the two other sources of proof of identity, that is, the Ghana passport and the guarantee system, leaving the Ghana Card as the only means of identity,” he said.
The EC, recently indicated that it would accept only the Ghana Card as the sole source of identification for the continuous voters’ registration exercise, thus, scrapping the age-old guarantor system.
The Commission said using the Ghana Card as the only source of identification would rid the electoral register off minors and foreigners and enhance the integrity of the register.
Since the announcement, there have been concerns about the EC’s decision, with some commentators and political analysts warning that the move could disenfranchise many prospective voters.
Mr Ampofo warned that as a party with legitimate interest in the elections and given the high stakes of the 2024 elections, it would not allow any manipulation before, during or after those elections, adding that it would demand the strictest standards in the processes leading up to the elections.
“Since the C.I. has not been formally laid before Parliament, we take this opportunity to call upon the EC to abandon the idea altogether.
“We wish to serve notice, that we will use every lawful means to resist this latest effort to undermine the right of Ghanaians to vote and in the process skew the electoral system in favour of the NPP,” he said.
Mr Ampofo also explained that it was nearly impossible for all eligible Ghanaians to acquire the Ghana Card which would enable them to register as voters considering the challenges that had characterised the process since its inception.
Statistics from the NIA indicate that more than two million eligible Ghanaians were yet to obtain their Ghana Cards.
Mr Ampofo said: “In the circumstances therefore, making the Ghana Card the sole requirement for voter for registration will serve to deny millions of Ghanaians their right to register and vote.”
The National Chairman added that: “Given the above circumstances, we are of the considered view that C.I. 91 as amended is adequate for voter registration and the subsequent conduct of the 2024 elections as the EC has not provided any justification for the proposed changes.”
The National Chairman also cited Regulations 2 and 33 of the newly proposed C.I as sections that required more engagements for finetuning.