The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has impressed on the Electoral Commission (EC) to discard its proposed Constitutional Instrument which makes the Ghana card the sole document for purposes of registration as a voter in public elections in the country.
The opposition party held that the proposal by the election management body was “unconstitutional (because)it served as a fetter on citizens’ right to register and exercise their franchise” and that citizenry must not be determined by virtue of possessing a Ghana card.
According to the party, the 1992 Constitution determines the criteria under which one qualifies to vote; a criteria which cannot be altered by a subsidiary legislation.
The Commission in regulation 1(3) of the draft CI which is yet to be laid in Parliament proposed that “a person who applies for registration as a voter shall provide as evidence of identification the National Identity Card issued by the National Identification Authority (NIA).”
But the National Chairman of the party, Samuel OfosuAmpofo, in a statement read on behalf of the National Council in Accra on Tuesday, said the party would use all legitimate means to scuttle the EC’s plan to use the Ghana card as a sole document for registration because millions of Ghanaians did not have the card.
“We wish to caution the EC to be mindful of its actions and inactions since they have far reaching implications on the peace and security of the country. The conduct of the EC reinforces the NDC’s suspicion of collusion between the Commission and the New Patriotic Party to rig the 2024 elections.
“As a party with a legitimate interest and given the high stakes of the 2024 elections, we are simply unwilling to allow any manipulations before, during and after those elections, and we will demand the strictest standards in the processes leading up to the elections.
“We wish to serve notice that we will use every lawful means to resist this latest efforts to undermine the right of Ghanaians to vote and in the process skew the electoral system in favour of the NPP.
“We will mobilise the broad masses of Ghanaians to wage sustained and unrelenting campaign to prevent any attempt by the EC to strip large sections of the population of their right to vote,”Mr Ampofo hinted.
Though the NDC Chairman said the party was not against any system that would ensure that only eligible voters participated in public elections, over three million Ghanaians, as admitted by the Identification Authority, did not possess the card.
Across the country, MrAmpofo said citizens have genuine difficulties in enrolling on the NIA’s data roll as has been highlighted by the ongoing Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card registration exercise, and to use the same card as a base document to register voters could backfire.
The EC, the party said, should in line with provisions of Article 45(e) of the Constitution be opening the frontiers for the expansion of the registration of voters rather than seeking ways to limit those who get onto the roll.
“In line with the above, we demand an immediate cessation of all work on the laying of the CI in Parliament pending thorough deliberations and consultations with all relevant stakeholders to fine-tune it to take on board the concerns expressed by us and all stakeholders,” Mr Ampofo demanded.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI