The main opposition party, NDC believes that, the electoral body, EC is making all effort to undermine the right of Ghanaians to vote and in the process, skewed the electoral system in favour of the ruling party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
These strong words was uttered at the Council of Elders Press Conference at the party head quarters on 20th September, 2022 in Accra, Ghana.
The Press Conference addressed by the party National Chairman, Mr .Samuel Ofosu Ampofo was to highlight the actions and intentions of the Electoral Commission to undermine democratic credentials of the country through the proposed Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Instrument.
And as a stakeholder, it is their responsibility to ensure that, the country’s democratic credentials are protected and secured, hence would not tolerate any actions or intentions from the Chairperson and the Commission.
Adding that, “We will mobilize the broad masses of Ghanaians to wage a sustained and unrelenting campaign to prevent any attempt by the EC to strip large sections of the population of their right to vote”.
The Chairman further stated that, upon a careful study of the draft regulations, the party, NDC have 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.”
Revealing that, there are two implications of the regulation saying, the first is that, the regulation is clear on the face of it that the Ghana Card shall be the only proof of identification for purposes of voter registration.
The regulation he said seeks 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”.
The second implication Mr. Ofosu Ampofo mentioned 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 NIA”.
The NDC Chairman averred that, the Ghana card is a new feature of the national life and therefore, cannot immediately become the only means to identify a Ghanaian only because it plays into the hands of the NPP whose members constitute the leadership of both the National Identification Authority and the EC.
“In light of the above, we demand an immediate cessation of all work on the laying of the CI in Parliament pending thorough deliberations and consultations with all relevant stakeholders to fine-tune it to take on board the concerns expressed by us and others that may be held by other stakeholders”.
“Given the above circumstances, we are of the considered view that C.I. 91 as amended is adequate for voter registration and the subsequent conduct of the 2024 elections as the EC has not provided any justification for the proposed changes”.
He said, 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.
“The EC is obviously up to a mischievous game to exclude the NDC from the process of drafting the CI”.
The peace and security of Ghana he indicated, cannot be toyed with in the manner that the EC is doing.
“The conduct of the Electoral Commission reinforces the NDC’s suspicion of collusion between the Commission and the New Patriotic Party to rig the 2024 elections.