The Electoral Commission has called on the government to urgently resource the National Identification Authority (NIA) to enable it to register and issue more Ghana Cards.
This, the Deputy Chairperson of the EC, Dr. Bossman Asare explained is because the Ghana Card will become the sole document for registering new voters once the EC gets parliament’s approval for its new Constitutional Instrument, C.I.
The EC has been trying to lay before parliament a new C. I which will make the Ghana Card the only identification material for registering for a voter’s card.
According to the EC, this system will prevent non-nationals and minors from getting onto the voters’ roll as compared to the guarantor system which allows for this to happen, thereby bloating the voters’ register and threatening its integrity.
However, the Minority in parliament insists the abandonment of the guarantor system will disenfranchise millions of Ghanaians who are yet to be issued a Ghana Card.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Dr Asare noted “We would like to use this opportunity to especially urge the government as a matter of urgency to provide the necessary support to the National Identification Authority to register all qualified persons ahead of the registration exercise next year,” he said.
This call for resources for NIA comes in the wake of minors and foreigners taking advantage of the guarantor system in the EC’s ongoing limited registration exercise.
Dr Asare said the EC continues to see images and receive reports from its officers about minors and other ineligible people registering.
He noted that the unqualified voters were able to take advantage of the guarantor system with the support of some members of the political parties.
“We have noticed that minors and foreigners have taken advantage of the guarantor system … this must stop,” he said.
According to Dr Asare, the political parties as key stakeholders, are expected to support the EC to ensure its registers are credible.
He said, “if there are key people who will benefit from the voters register, we strongly believe that political parties will be one of the main beneficiaries.”
He, therefore, issued a stern warning to political parties to immediately stop busing minors to registration centers to take part in the exercise.
Dr Asare said parents must also ensure their children who are not 18 years old do not attempt to register.
According to him, the EC believes that having the voters’ register with only qualified persons is central to protecting the country’s democracy.
“We will carry out our registration exercise in our district offices and selected electoral areas next year and we anticipate that all qualified applicants will have their Ghana Cards to present as evidence of their ages and nationality,” he added.
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