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EC determined to disenfranchise some Ghanaians - Mahama

BY: Kweku Zurek
EC determined to disenfranchise some Ghanaians - Mahama
EC determined to disenfranchise some Ghanaians - Mahama

Former President John Dramani Mahama has accused the Electoral Commission (EC) of making it difficult for Ghanaians to take part in elections.

According to Mr Mahama, the insistence of the EC to use the Ghana Card as the only base document for future voter identification card registrations could disenfranchise many citizens.

"The Electoral Commission, instead of making it easy for our citizens to take part in elections, rather takes delight in making it difficult," the Mr Mahama posted on Facebook.

"They appear determined to ensure the disenfranchisement of sections of our population at all costs through a misguided insistence on the use of the Ghana Card as the only source of identification for a voter card".

EC denies reports

The former President's post comes days after the EC dismissed reports that it will compile a new register for the 2024 Elections.

Maintaining that the register which was compiled for the 2020 Election was still credible, the Commission said it was instead putting in place measures to ensure the continuous registration of persons onto the register using the Ghana Card as the only base document to register new persons.

“We are not compiling a new voters’ register. The one we compiled in 2020 is a credible one, a very good register so we are not dispensing it. But you and I are aware that people have been saying that, why don’t you roll out continuous registration so that when somebody turns 18, the person goes to our offices and register," the Director of Electoral Services at the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr Serebour Quaicoe said.

“That is exactly what we are doing. What we are seeking to do is that we are coming out with a new Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) which we have had a series of Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meetings with the political parties.”

Reacting to concerns by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that using the Ghana Card as a base document to compile a new register would destabilize the country, Dr Quaicoe said all political parties had been briefed about the process except the NDC which had boycotted Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meetings since 2015.

“Obviously, the NDC has not been attending IPAC meetings of late, after 2020 they have not been attending but all the political parties have been attending and they can all attest to the fact that we have taken them through the new CI, we have discussed everything thoroughly.

“So, what we are saying is that, if people are going to register any day at our district offices, then they need some credible form of identification and it is possible that once it is going to be continuous the political parties will not be there to be guaranteeing or objecting to.

“So why don’t we emphasize on the Ghana Card so that once you have your Ghana Card, we believe that you might have gone through the screening, so you come to our office with the Ghana card and we will enroll you onto the register. We are talking of continuous registration of people who have not registered, we are not using the data from the National Identification Authority (NIA), no.”

Concerns

The Minority Leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu, had alleged that the EC was planning to create a new voter roll for the 2024 general polls. A move he said could destabilize the country.

“Our understanding is that the Electoral Commission is seeking to make the National ID Card the only source of justification to register onto the Voter ID Card as their basis, "Mr Iddrisu told journalists in Parliament on Tuesday, July 12, 2022.

"Our concern primarily is that in the past, since 1993, voter registration exercises that have been undertaken you normally have the provision of a guarantor of other persons guaranteeing for persons to get onto the voter register in so far as it is established that they are Ghanaian, of age and of sound mind and to participate in Ghana's electoral process to vote and be voted for".