The opposition NDC has questioned the Electoral Commission’s resolve to stick to passports and Ghana cards as the only primary documents that eligible voters can use for the upcoming registration for the voter ID.
Addressing a presser on Thursday, 21 May 2020, the Director of Elections for the NDC, Mr Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, however, said the EC’s insistence on using the NIA cards and passports will disenfranchise over 93 per cent of eligible voters in two regions, which are part of the strongholds of the NDC.
“Only about 6.5 million people have access to the NIA card”, he noted, wondering how the rest of the voter population can be registered for the new voter ID card when they have no Ghana card.
“The NIA could not dispute our claim that only 5.17 per cent and 6.36 per cent of the registrable population in the Upper West and Upper East regions, respectively, have been issued Ghana cards, as we speak.
“So, Upper West, Upper East, Northern, Savannah, North-East, you look at the figures, 86 per cent, 84 per cent, 85 per cent and Upper East and Upper West 5.17 per cent and Upper East 6.36 per cent. So, the rest of the ninety-something per cent, what is going to happen to them? Are they not Ghanaians? Do they not deserve to be treated rightly, fairly and justly as anybody else? Do they have to go through the hustle of trying to find people to guarantee for them with all its delays and frustrations?” he asked.
“So, take note of that because when we speak, they say where is the conspiracy. So, by strange, accidental reason, [in] the strongholds of the NDC, you have a situation where 93 per cent of eligible voters in these two regions would not have access to their cards.
“And they have to resort to the secondary method of vouching as the norm rather than the exception. Is it fair, is it right? Are you creating a level playing field?”
“The big question, therefore, is: why would the Jean Mensa-led EC rely on an identification card, Ghana card, whose issuance is largely incomplete, and fraught with several anomalies and demographic disparities? Why is the Jean Mensa-led EC excluding from the list of registration requirements under the proposed C.I., their own widely available and acceptable voter ID card and rather including the Ghana card, which is currently possessed by just about 6.5 million Ghanaians who are 18 years and above? A card which is currently not accepted by any public, private or commercial institution.
“You go to the banks today; they don’t accept Ghana cards. So, why would they insist, after telling the whole public that they are going to use the old card and then surreptitiously, they go and remove the card and then now insist on a Ghana card, which the majority of the citizens do not have?
“The commonsensical question that is begging for an answer is: why the Jean Mensa-led EC excluded the exiting voter ID card from the list of registration requirements provided under the proposed C.I. Why have they excluded an ID card that has been upheld by the Supreme Court, as the best prima facie of voter eligibility. This is a decided case by the Supreme Court; that is law. When a Supreme Court makes a proclamation, it is akin to law.
“So, is the EC above the law? Can they do whatever they want? And they’ll quote: ‘We’re an independent institution’. [An] independent institution must be within the confines of the law and reason and commonsense. And if you are given power, the Constitution says that power must not be used in an arbitrary manner – Article 298. You must not use that power capriciously, whimsically, arbitrarily, and in a biased manner. Is this not whimsical, arbitrary and biased way of doing things?”
The Electoral Commission has come under heavy criticism within the political space regarding its decision to go ahead with the compilation of a new electoral roll amidst the coronavirus scare.
According to the biggest opposition NDC, the situation lends credence to the fact that the Electoral Management Body is conspiring with NIA to rig the December elections.