The Coalition of National Youth Organisers has stated that the decision by the Electoral Commission (EC) to use the Ghana Card as the sole document for qualified persons for the impending continuous registration of voters was the best choice.
The group insisted that the use of the Ghana Card would prevent the usual problems of names of under age persons and non-Ghanaians getting onto the register and double registration which culminates in misunderstandings during and after elections.
The group, made up of youth organisers of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the People’s National Convention (PNC), All People’s Congress (APC), Progressive People’s Party (PPP) and the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), stated this at a press conference in Accra last Wednesday.
Use of Ghana Card
Present at the press conference were the Youth Organisers of CPP, Osei Kofi Acquah; PNC, Mark Ewusie Arko; APC, King Hassan; PPP, Faisal Sadat and GCPP, Jude Balma.
The General Secretary of the coalition, Osei Kofi Acquah, who is also the Youth Organiser of the CPP, explained that after the establishment of the National Identification Authority, Parliament in 2008 passed the National Identity Register Act, 2008 (Act 750).
He added that section 73(1) of Act 750 empowered the minister to make Legislative Instruments to, among others, (f) provide that every public office should demand the presentation of an identity card as a condition precedent to the provision of its service.
He added that in February 2012, the Minister for the Interior, laid before Parliament, the National Identity Register Regulations, 2012 (LI 2111), which was subsequently passed.
“Regulation 7 of the LI 2111 is titled 'Mandatory use of national identity card.' Regulation 7(1) states... 'A national identity card issued to an individual shall be used for the following transactions where identification is required... (j) registration of voters... (I) registration of SIM cards”.
Mr Acquah stated that it was also for this reason that the coalition had offered their support for the EC to use the Ghana Card for the Limited Registration Exercise.
He said the Ghana card actually carried a complete information on a registrant and was the best document that would ensure that the country did not spend millions of Ghana Cedis of taxpayers’ money to put together a new voter’s register every now and then.
“It is, therefore, very important to decide as a country that going forward, the Ghana Card becomes the universally accepted proof of citizenship once and for all to avoid the tensions and confrontations we experience every election year,” he stated.
Mr Acquah said Parliament should ensure that the NIA expedites action and provide all Ghanaians, especially those qualified to register, with their cards.
Quoting statistics, he explained that about 450,000 people turned 18 each year so roughly the electoral commission has about 1.8m people to register before the 2024 elections.
He welcomed the decision of the nationwide offices of the NIA as well as the district offices of the EC to embark on a limited registration, adding, “We believe every Ghanaian who qualifies to register will be registered by 2023 and no one will be disenfranchised”.