The Electoral Commission’s (EC’s) Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) 126 which would govern the December 2020 polls has come into effect following its maturity yesterday.
It came after the approval by the plenary report of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of the House which recommended same.
By this, all persons who apply to be registered as voters in the EC’s planned voter registration exercise ahead of the elections would have to produce a Ghana Card or a Passport as the breeder document to get onto the register; or alternatively, have two registered voters vouch for him or her.
The approval which was opposed by the Minority caucus had to go down the wire as a division, pursuant to Order 113, was evoked to determine the fate of the CI.
At the end of the voting process, 106 Members voted in favour of the CI with 96 kicking against it.
The Ghanaian Times reported last Friday that the Subsidiary Legislation Committee had by a majority decision of 12:9 recommended to the plenary to adopt and approve its recommendations.
Moving the motion yesterday, Chairman of the Committee and MP for Bolgatanga East, Dr Dominic Ayine, said though all Members on the Committee recognise the mandate of the EC to compile a voters’ register a consensus had not been reached on whether or not the decision by the Commission to bar the use of the current voter identity card as a breeder document was constitutional.
Ranking Member on the Committee, Yaw Buaben Asamoa, seconding the motion said allowing persons to use the current voters’ identification card to be onto the intended new register would be a transfer of ineligible voters onto the new voters’ roll.
Mahama Ayariga, the Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, who had earlier this meeting moved a motion praying Parliament to reject the CI, on his part, maintained that limiting the breeder document to only the Ghana Card and Passport would deny many Ghanaians access onto the register.
He contended that per the Citizenship Act, among other criterion, any person born in Ghana is a Ghanaian citizen and the best document to attest to that fact would be the birth certificate.
“Mr Speaker, how can you establish that somebody is born in Ghana? It is by the birth certificate. The most authentic document [to establish that one was born in Ghana] is the birth certificate,” he maintained.
The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, rounding up position of the Minority said attempts to discredit the current register was unfounded because the current government, parliament and all elected members of the various assemblies and unit committees were a product of the register.
“This Instrument, if allowed to pass in its current form and character will disenfranchise many Ghanaians and can begin to spell the fatality and doom of our democracy.
“We have a duty to protect the democracy and in its protection, we want to be seen voting against this instrument so that tomorrow we will hold the EC responsible for any fatality to Ghana’s democratic journey and democratic practice as a people,” he said as he called for the division.
But the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, on his part said the Minority was ‘flip-flopping’ in their argument as new registrations for voting purposes had always been the case since 1992.
According to him, the fact that the EC, in Abu Ramadan vs the Attorney General case, admitted that some 56,000 people used the National Health Insurance cards to register contaminates the current roll and that the product of that contaminated system – the current voter card – cannot be used as a source document to get onto a the new system.
He likened the situation to the biblical sins of Adam and Eve; “just two people” which he said “have afflicted the entire human race,” hence all holders of the current card could not be said to be eligible to be on the register.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI