The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has said it is scandalised by attempts by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to scuttle the national identification exercise for the second time.
According to the party, the NDC had eight years within which they could have successfully undertaken the project but failed to do so.
For that reason, the PPP said, “the NDC cannot be allowed to continue their disservice to Ghana even in opposition when they blatantly refused to implement the Ghana Card policy for the eight years they were in power.”
Addressing a press conference on the registration exercise and the boycott by the Minority in Parliament in Accra yesterday, Mr Kofi Asamoah Siaw, a Policy Advisor of the PPP, stressed that “we want our cards now and nothing should be allowed to derail such an important national exercise. We need to demonstrate competence in managing our own affairs by raising a credible national database; which objective cannot be sacrificed on the altar of political mischief and unbridled propaganda.”
According to the PPP, inasmuch as the NDC MPs had the right to oppose the restriction of the identification requirements for registration to passports and birth certificates, it was of the belief that the law was unanimously passed by MPs from both sides of the house.
It, therefore, questioned whether the NDC MPs were asleep when they accepted the current four ways of proving citizenship.
The current law passed by Parliament allows the use of passports, birth certificates, or when an applicant is unable to submit any of the required documents, a "Ghanaian citizen" relative (or relation) of the applicant may identify the applicant under oath. Alternatively, where the applicant has no known "Ghanaian citizen" relatives available, two persons determined by the NIA Board as "Ghanaians citizens" may identify the applicant under oath, the PPP explained.
The PPP said it was its considered opinion that the NDC MPs should blame themselves, and not the NIA, for the current state of affairs.
“Rather than boycotting the exercise, the NDC MPs still have an opportunity to amend the law by introducing a private members bill to seek to amend the law. The NDC MPs are entitled to pursue this path so that the voter’s ID card, which exclusion from the list of valid proofs of citizenship and the cause of the current cacophony, will be added,” the PPP maintained.
Hansard and the NDC hypocrisy
Surprisingly in the Hansard of Parliament, the PPP said, at no point did the NDC MPs object to the proposed means of proving citizenship.
In the parliamentary committee’s report under proof of citizenship, the PPP recounted, “the chairman reported to the house that the bill seeks to do away with the use of voters’ identity card, driver’s licence and baptismal certificates. It maintained the use of birth certificates and passports only and introduced residence permit and other documents evidencing acquired citizenship. In fact, the NDC supported the report and to quote Alhaji Inusah Abdulai B. Fuseini (MP, Tamale Central) “Mr Speaker, there is no controversy in the amendments. It seeks to expand the field of information that would be required, and bring the information up to date with modern trends”.
In the view of the PPP, the NDC ought to allow the process to continue and not attempt to bastardise the exercise by raising non-existent difficulties with the process in the pursuit of their suspicious and covert political agenda.
Fake Ghana Card
The PPP observed that for the past week, social media had been awash with fake Ghana cards of some NDC MPs saying the party was terrified since that undermined and bastardised the integrity and security of the process, as well as threatened the peace of the country.
“Identity theft jeopardises national security and this issue must not be swept under the carpet. What is worse is that criminals are using the same technology as governments and businesses to create advanced fake IDs to further their crimes,” the party pointed out.
The PPP was of the conviction that it was possible some people had those fake Ghana cards in their custody and called on the BNI and CID to thoroughly investigate this issue and bring the perpetrators to book.
The party also urged Ghanaians to be vigilant in order to keep the problem at bay.
It was the considered stance of the PPP that the NIA was the only solution to the quest for compiling a credible voters’ register and that it was also the only way the dispute over the nationality and age of any person on any register at anytime could be prevented.
The party said with the use of the National Identification Card, there would be no minors and no non-Ghanaians on the country’s voters’ register.
That, the party said, would open up the society in a way that made registration for voting continuous and seamless to remove all the acrimony and the unnecessary tension associated with the voter registration process.
“There shall be a new beginning for all Ghanaians and we shall have faith in our voters’ register forever. Our view is that this periodic compilation of a new voters’ register almost after every four or eight years is not useful. We are convinced that using the National Identification Card to compile our voters’ register is a permanent solution to our electoral problem of lack of a credible voters’ register and will prevent cheating in the elections,” the PPP maintained.