The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa, has assured Members of Parliament that the proposed Constitutional Instrument (CI) which seeks to make the Ghana Card the sole identity card for the purpose of registration as a voter will not disenfranchise Ghanaians.
In a presentation to Parliament’s Committee of the Whole in Accra yesterday, Mrs Mensa said the proposed CI would rather enhance the credibility of the Ghanaian voter register, engender confidence in the electoral process and make the registration of voters a continuous one.
“I wish to emphasise that this Cl and its provisions are not aimed at disenfranchising eligible Ghanaians.
“The continuous registration process will be inclusive as it will make it possible to capture all those who would otherwise have been excluded in a Limited Registration Process.
“The exercise is not a periodic or limited one that could lead to disenfranchising persons who do not possess the Ghana Card.
“This is an all year- round activity. As such a person who does not have the Ghana Card today can acquire it tomorrow and simply walk into a district office where he or she intends to vote and register,” she said.
The presentation was part of consultations ahead of the laying of the CI.
According to Mrs Mensa, the use of the Ghana Card as the sole means of identification for registering as a voter would ensure and guarantee the integrity of the voter register.
“The use of the Ghana Card as the sole means of identification will prevent foreigners and minors from getting onto our voters register.
“More especially it will prevent unqualified persons from influencing our elections and having a say as to who should govern our country.
“This is an issue that borders on the sovereignty of our Nation. Simply put, only eligible Ghanaians must be entitled to vote,” she stressed.
Relying on the 2021 census report of the Statistical Service and their own estimates, the EC Boss expects to register between 450,000 and 550,000 Ghanaians every year.
Making a case why the guarantor system could not be trusted to enroll voters into the register, Mrs Mensa said the Commission in 2020 established the District Registration Review Committees and found that the system had led to unqualified people making it into the register.
“We were able to expunge over 40,000 minors and foreigners from the register during the registration exercise.
“It has been argued that the number is not significant but we refute that argument and state that one person unqualified on our roll is one too many.
“We call on our Honourable Members to support us prevent foreigners and minors from getting on our electoral roll,” she said.
Assuring of their preparedness to issue the Ghana Card to all eligible registrants, the Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), Professor Ken Attafuah, who was also at the meeting said of the 17,375,861 registered Ghanaians so far, 16,737,734 cards have been printed of which 16,095,331 have been collected.
Prof. Attafuah said 541,529 cards are unprinted and explained that US$80 million of their indebtedness of the about US$100 million to a third party has been cleared.
He said the unprinted cards could be delivered in 11 days and assured that “we have the technical and operational capacity to print the cards within time. We are ready to deliver on this important mandate.”
On his part, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta said government was committed to a free, fair and transparent elections and would make the funds available to enhance the operations of the NIA and the EC.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI