NIA has assured to address all challenges by end of the year – EC

The Electoral Commission (EC) has said the National Identification Authority (NIA) has assured that all the challenges associated with the issuance of the GhanaCard will be addressed by the end of the year.

This was revealed by the Director of Electoral Service Dr Serebour Quaicoo on Monday September 26.

“The NIA has given us the assurance that they will address all the challenges by end of this year,” he said on Accra-based Citi FM.

Concerns have been raised against the move by the EC to use the GhanaCard as the only form of identification for the continuous voter registration exercise.

For instance, Buem Member of Parliament Kofi Adams said on the Key Points show on TV3 Saturday September 24 that the EC has no justification for trying to use GhanaCard as the only form of identification for the continuous voter registration.

Mr Adams said this decision cannot be defended by anyone because there is no basis for it.

He said so far the EC has not been able to demonstrate that persons who registered through guarantor system ahead of the 2020 polls did so illegally for which that provision is being expunged.

“Such a position should never be pushed by EC,” he said. He added “this shouldn’t be defended by any Ghanaian.

A private legal practitioner, Mr Gary Nimako also wondered why the National Identification Authority (NIA) is unable to register and issue GhanaCards to the people expeditiously.

In his view, the challenges that are preventing the NIA for doing so should be looked at and addressed immediately.

He was speaking on the Key Points on TV3 Saturday September 24, while contributing to a discussion on the rejection of a move by the Electoral Commission (EC) to use the GhanaCard as the only form of identification in the continuous voter registration by the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Mr Nimako who is also a member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) said “What we see is the complaint by some people that they have gone to write their names and they don’t have their card.

“The genuine question is that, what is preventing NIA from delivering on its mandate in an expeditious manner? Is there a peculiar challenge that is stopping NIA from delivering their mandate expeditiously?

“If the NIA has registered everybody for the Ghana we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

“Let us engage the NIA, what do they need to ensure that between now and middle of next year they can put, if not all Ghanaians, majority of Ghanaians on their roll.”

The National Chairman of the NDC Samuel Ofosu Ampofo earlier has said the EC is seeking to undermine Ghana democracy through the proposed Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Instrument.

Upon a careful study of the draft regulations, he said, the NDC has discovered that Regulation 1(3) states that “A person who applies for registration as a voter shall provide as evidence of identification the National Identity Card issued by National Identification Authority.”

He indicated that there are two implications of this regulation.

The first, he stated, this regulation is clear on the face of it that the Ghana Card shall be the only proof of identification for purposes of voter registration. In other words, what this regulation seeks to do is to radically change the current regime for proving a person’s identity for voter registration purposes.

“Under the current regulations i.e. C.I. 126, a person who qualifies to register as a voter may prove his or her identity by either presenting a valid Ghana passport, a national identity card (not national identity card issued by the National Identification Authority as proposed in this C.I.), or a voter registration identification form signed by two registered voters within the community.

“What the EC proposes to do with the new C.I. is to eliminate the two other sources of proof of identity i.e. the Ghana passport and the guarantee system leaving the Ghana Card as the only means of identity,” Mr Ofosu Ampofo said at a press conference in Accra on Tuesday September 20.

He added “The second implication is that the regulation flies in the face of Article 42 of the Constitution which states as follows: ‘Every citizen of Ghana of Eighteen years or above and of sound mind has the right to vote and is entitled to be registered as a voter for the purpose of public elections and referenda.’

“This clearly makes the proposed provision unconstitutional. What it means is that if the C.I. is passed in its current form, it will not only be unconstitutional, it will radically disenfranchise all those prospective voters who for no fault of theirs are unable to obtain the national ID card issued by the National Identification Authority (NIA).

“They would have been denied the right provided for them under Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution.”

“The 1992 Constitution provides only three conditions for registration as a voter; The person has to be a citizen of Ghana; The person must be of sound mind; The person must be eighteen years old or above.

“Therefore, no subsidiary legislation can be used to undermine this provision. That is the reason why since the inception of the Fourth Republic, all regulations governing registration of voters have always provided the guarantee system in order to take account of all qualified persons who for one reason or the other do not possess the requirements. To remove this provision from the C.I. and make the Ghana Card the sole requirement for registration is to deny all such persons the right to register and vote and this is a complete breach and violation of Article 42 of the Constitution and so therefore is unconstitutional.”

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