Deputy Minority Leader, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah has expressed satisfaction at the consensus reached by both sides of the House for the Electoral Commission to incorporate the views expressed by Members of Parliament especially those of the Minority in the draft Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2023 Constitutional Instrument (CI) for the conduct of the 2024 general elections.
He indicated that all the National Democratic-NDC fought for was for the right thing to done by all stakeholders to ensure a level playing field and provide equal opportunity for all citizens of Ghana in the electioneering process in accordance with article 42 of the 1992 Constitution.
Speaking in an interview after parliament adopted the Committee of the Whole report, the Ellembele lawmaker said the NDC in principle believes in the National Identification system through the card to stop the multiplicity of Identity cards in the country but was convinced not all citizens have the card going into the polls.
Officials of the Electoral Commission and the National Identification Authority (NIA) on February 28, 2023 briefed Parliament’s Committee of the Whole on the draft CI and the readiness to ensure all Ghanaians have the Ghana card.
The EC disclosed at the meeting that it intends to use the ECOWAS Identity card popularly known as the Ghana card the only source identity document of proof of citizenship for registration as a voter for the 2024 general election.
Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Jean Mensah explained that; “the use of the Ghana will ensure and guarantee the credibility of the register and elections, prevent enrolment of minors, prevent foreigners from voting, eliminate the guarantor system which is prone to abuse”.
The draft CI also limits registration centres for the acquisition of voter ID card to only the District Offices of the Electoral Commission across the country.
The minority National Democratic Congress however vehemently opposed these two provisions in the draft CI, arguing that it has the tendency of denying eligible citizens who have not yet acquired the Ghana Card through no fault of theirs the opportunity to be registered as voters.
According to the minority, the NIA has not yet completed its nationwide registration process to enable all citizens acquire the Ghana card hence the EC cannot make the card as the sole document for registration as a voter.
The minority caucus’s positions was for the inclusion of the guarantor system where a family member or a registered voter can vouch for someone as a citizen of Ghana under oath for the purposes of registering as voter in cases the person was unable to acquire the Ghana card.
The Minority NDC in parliament also argued against the limitation of registration centres to only the District Offices of the EC since it will also deny potential voters the opportunity to register due to distance.
The report of the Committee of the Whole on the meeting with EC and NIA officials which was presented by first deputy speaker on behalf of Mr Speaker was unanimously adopted last Friday March 31, 2023.
The report virtually adopted the position of the minority and urged the EC to favourably consider and include the proposals before finalising the new CI and subsequently present it to Parliament for passage into law.
Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah who was a former Minister for Energy said the minority stands firmly with the Ghanaian people and will continue to do everything humanly possible to protect their interest at all times.