EC rallies MPs to support Ghana Card agenda in voter registration
Mrs Jean Mensa, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Tuesday rallied the Members of Parliament to support the Commission’s decision to use the Ghana Card as the main source of identification for voters’ registration.
“The use of the Ghana Card as the sole document for voters’ registration will prevent foreigners and minors from getting onto our electoral roll,” she told Parliament’s Committee of the Whole Meeting in Accra.
The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission was at the Committee’s Meeting to brief the House on the Draft Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2023.
Dr Kenneth Agyeman Attafuah, the Executive Secretary, National Identification Authority (NIA), was also present to brief the House on the status of the ECOWAS Identification Card (Ghana Card) Registration.
Accompanying the duo to the House was Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Finance Minister.
The Constitutional Instrument (CI), which the EC is seeking to lay before the House, will empower the electoral body to use the Ghana Card as the sole identification document for the registration of qualified Ghanaian voters.
Prior to the beginning of the Meeting, Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, at the request of Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza, the Minority Chief Whip, permitted the media to cover it.
Mrs Mensa said Ghana had evolved, and it was important that her electoral processes also evolved to meet the exigencies of the times.
“Let state again that, in 1992 when we had no ID card, we adopted the guarantor system. Today, 30 years on, we cannot continue to use a system that is fraught with challenges and more so when we now have a credible system – the National Identification Card in place,” she said.
She reiterated that the Cl and its provisions were not aimed at disenfranchising eligible Ghanaians.
She said the Continuous Registration Process on the contrary would be inclusive as it would make it possible to capture all those who would otherwise be excluded in a Limited Registration Process.
The Chairperson said by using the Ghana Card as the main source of identification, the EC would be conforming to Regulation 7 (1) of the Legal Instrument (LI) passed by Parliament; that’s the National Identity Register Regulations (LI) 2111, which states that the National Identity Card shall be used for a number of transactions where was required – including the Voters Register.
Dr Attafuah, on his part, said per the Ghana Statistical Service, Ghana’s population was 31 million, and that the number of Ghanaians the NIA had registered, 15 years and above, was 17,375,861.
He said the number of Ghanaians 18 years plus who were captured in the Authority’s database was 16.9 million whereas the number of Ghanaians 18 years plus on the EC’s voter’s register was 17,029,000.
The number of Ghanaians aged 15 years yet to be registered was 2,565,705.
Dr Attafuah said as of February 19, 2023, the NIA had registered 17,375,861 Ghanaians, and that the number of cards printed but not collected was 642,401 whereas the number of cards not yet printed was 541,529.
He said the Finance Ministry had already started releasing funds for the printing of the Ghana Cards.
Mr Ofori-Atta said the government would do its best to ensure that resources were made available to the NIA for the printing of the cards.