The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has called on all stakeholders to support the Electoral Commission (EC) and all agencies in using the Ghana Card not only for the continuous voters’ registration exercise but for all national activities.
It said using the Ghana Card would eliminate all the grey areas associated with using the guarantor system, such as age and citizenship issues.
The Director of Research and Elections of the NPP, Evans Nimako, told the Daily Graphic that using the Ghana Card would eliminate the cost of appeals at the district and national levels to determine and clear cases.
“We will be better off to have a semblance of a clean and credible register if the EC uses the Ghana Card, as the guarantor system is prone to confusion,” he said.
“It is a strong disposition that the combined effect of Regulation 9(2) of CI 91 and Regulation 7(1)(j) of LI 2111 will take away the unnecessary confusion and disagreements that characterised voter registration exercises,” he stated.
There have been disagreements over using the Ghana Card as the sole document for identification by the EC in its continuous voter registration exercise.
This has necessitated an engagement of Parliament with the Ministry of Finance, the EC and the National Identification (NIA) on February 28, 2023.
According to the EC, using the Ghana Card would go a long a way to sanitise the electoral system to ensure that only qualified Ghanaians were enrolled onto the voters register.
When asked about the use of the guarantor system by the NIA and why the EC could not use the same, Mr Nimako said with the clearance by the NIA through the Commissioners of Oath, it made it easier to use the Ghana Card to quicken the process.
Moreover, he said, the Legislative Instrument (LI) 2111 made it mandatory for state institutions including the EC to insist on the use of the Ghana Card.
The CI 2111 was enacted under the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in 2012 and did not see why the country should move or run away from its use.
“I, therefore, want to urge the Members of Parliament (MPs) to do this honourable thing to let the CI pass in its current form, rather than do any disservice to the good people of Ghana. Posterity will not forgive them if they fail us.
“The MPs should rather help relieve the country of the unnecessary confusion that is associated with voter registration exercises when the issue of the guarantor system rears its ugly head,” he stated.
Mr Nimako called for support for the NIA to execute its mandate within the legal framework. “They must be efficient and effective in all departments to discharge their mandate without fear or favour,” he said.
Mr Nimako pointed out that when LI 2111 came into effect in February 2012 during the presidency of the late President John Evans Atta Mills, the EC was headed by Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan.
He explained that Section 7 of the LI mandated using the Ghana Card as the form of identification for voter registration. The only issue was that it wasn’t executed.
According to him, although the Ghana Card was not issued to only Ghanaians, that of foreigners was different.
He said the LI 2111 could not be used for the 2012 elections because fewer Ghanaians possessed it at the time and same was adduced for the 2016 elections.
Mr Nimako said that with the current registration of over 17 million for the Ghana Card, it was prudent that the law is effected while efforts were made to register more Ghanaians.