EC’s reliance on Ghana Card inappropriate — Majority Leader
The Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has stated that it will be a challenge for the Electoral Commission (EC) to rely solely on the Ghana Card for voter registration.
He said the ongoing challenges with the issuance of the Ghana Card by the National Identification Authority (NIA) remained a setback, a reason the Ghana Card could not be the sole document for the voter registration exercise.
At a leadership meeting with members of the Parliamentary Press Corps in Parliament yesterday, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said it would be premature to rely solely on the Ghana Card for voter registration.
The EC proposed the use of the Ghana Card as the sole document for voter registration in the 2024 general election, citing the possibility of an abuse of that system.
Addressing the press, the Majority Leader indicated that many eligible voters registered by the NIA were yet to be issued with the Ghana Card.
"The EC’s initial decision to link voter registration for the district level elections to the Ghana Card has faced criticism due to the exclusion of eligible voters who lack the card.
“Therefore, making the Ghana Card the sole document for voter registration will create similar issues," he said.
The Leader of Government Business in the House indicated that with many eligible voters still without the card, any decision by the EC to rely solely on the Ghana Card to register prospective voters would not be feasible.
“To say that you were restricting it to the Ghana Card was going to be problematic,” he said.
The MP for Suame indicated that if the EC could give the assurance that every eligible Ghanaian would be provided with the Ghana Card, it could bring the instrument on the Ghana Card.
“But if you admit that not every eligible Ghanaian has been registered or can be registered, then it becomes difficult to tie the registration solely to the Ghana Card,” he said.
EC, NIA must collaborate
The Minority Leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, said the Ghana Card was not proof of identity, and could not substitute the right to vote in a democratic process.
"About 62 per cent of people who registered had no Ghana Card, and it ties (in with) exactly to what the House decided," he said.
Dr Forson consequently urged the EC to have another look at its decision, and to work closely with the NIA to ensure the registration of eligible voters.
C.I. on Guan Constituency
Responding to a question on the EC having withdrawn the Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) meant for the creation of the Guan Constituency, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the EC, on Parliament convening, presented the instrument for presentation and concurrently might have submitted another one for its withdrawal.
“My own position was that if they had spoken to me earlier, the request for the withdrawal would not have been necessary,” he said.
Throwing more light on the issue, the Minority Leader said the Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee, Dr Dominic Ayine, last Tuesday briefed him that the committee's position was that the EC could hold district level elections for the Guan Constituency after “we have actually gone through the processes of electing assembly members for the other constituencies”.
“So, on that basis the EC had no basis to withdraw the C.I.,” he said.
Dr Ato Forson said between the Subsidiary Legislation Committee members and the EC, there had been an agreement that the C.I. should no longer be withdrawn.
“Because if the basis for the withdrawal has to do with the conduct of the district level elections alone, then another date can be set two or three weeks after, and if it will mean that Parliament will have to sit some extra days, then we may have to have that conversation,” he said.
Dr Forson added that “so, between us as leaders, we are having that conversation so that the people of Santrofi, Akpafu, Likpe and the Lolobi will have their constituency”.