The National Democratic Congress (NDC) is seeking to block the laying of a proposed Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) which would make the Ghana Card the sole identification document for the compilation of a new voters’ register.
In a petition to Parliament, the opposition party said the Instrument should not be laid until the backlog of Ghana Cards yet to be issued to registrants has been cleared.
Should the C.I. be laid and allowed to mature in its current form, the NDC anticipates that “millions of citizens” who do not have the Ghana Card may be denied their constitutional right to register and vote in the 2024 general elections.
To this end, the petition in the name of the party’s caucus leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu, said other evidence of citizenship should be added to the Ghana Card for the registration exercise.
“Since the proposed Public Election Instrument as a subsidiary legislation cannot override the substantive provision in the Constitution on citizens’ right to register and to vote, and insistence on the Ghana Card as the only evidence of citizenship will deny millions of citizens the right to register and to vote, other forms of evidence of citizenship such as Ghanaian passport and the guarantor system must be added to the Ghana Card as evidence of citizenship in the proposed CI.
“Any further action on the proposed C.I. by or in Parliament should be frozen until consultations have been initiated and concluded with the major stakeholders, especially the political parties, including the NDC and civil society,” the petition stated.
Speaking to journalists on the motive behind the petition, Mr Iddrisu said the Minority have a duty to ensure that the right to vote is not compromised.
“We are concerned that we have a duty to preserve our democracy and to protect and ensure the respect of fundamental human rights including the right to vote as enshrined in Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution.”
In his view, the disparity and the discrepancies in data between the National Identification Authority and the EC may give cause to the impairment and upholding the fundamental right to vote.
“The EC has a data of over 17 million people, NIA data has less than 17 million people, yet the EC says It wants to rely on NIA data.
“Our question is what has happened to the ECs own data? The data they spent 80m dollars on? Why are you abandoning your own data and relying on NIA data?” he asked.
He, however, said there were consultations between the leadership of the House before the petition, which was scheduled for yesterday, is presented.
The move by the NDC comes days after the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, served notice that the House would not entertain the CI if it was not briefed by the EC.
“Both procedure and substantive law must be followed [in laying the CI ]. I will not allow any such instrument to be laid in this House until I [and the House] is briefed. That is the proper thing to do together with the provisions of the Constitution.
“It is in their own interest to proceed to have the pre-laying before anything can be submitted and be captured by our Order Paper. That I believe is sufficient notice to all,” he said.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI