Former President John Dramani Mahama has accused the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Electoral Commission (EC) of plotting to suppress voters with the Constitutional Instrument (CI) that is seeking to make the Ghana Card the only identification document for voter registration ahead of the 2024 general elections.
The Chair of the EC Jean Mensa earlier this week stated that the Ghana Card will not be used to vote in the 2024 general elections but for the voter registration exercise.
Briefing Parliament on the proposed CI on Tuesday, February 28 Madam Jean Mensa said “It is important to rehash that the use of the Ghana Card as the sole document of identification will ensure and guarantee the credibility and integrity of our register and elections, it will prevent the enrolment of minors to register, it will prevent foreigners from being registered to vote and it will eliminate the guarantor system which is prone to abuse and which promotes conflicts and violence.”
“The Ghana Card will not be used for voting in 2024, it will be used to register,” she added.
The Minority have been raising issues against the proposed CI.
Mr Mahama alleged that the National Identification Authority (NIA), the body responsible for the Ghana Card registration, will deliberately frustrate the registration exercise in the strongholds of the NDC to prevent more people from getting their cards.
When the people do not have a Ghana Card, they can’t register to vote in the elections, that is what is called voter suppression, Mr Mahama said when he was addressing delegates of the NDC in the Ketu North Constituency as part of his campaign to be elected flagbearer of the NDC.
Present at the engagement with the delegates was also the Member of Parliament for the area James Kluste Avedzi.
Mr Mahama said “James Kluste Avedzi and co are fighting in Parliament against a Constitutional Instrument that if you don’t have Ghana Card you can’t register, you just can’t understand the sense with which the EC are pushing this stubbornly.
“The point is, we are not against Ghana, I myself have Ghana Card, I came on TV and encouraged all Ghanaubns including members of the NDC to go for their Ghana Cards but the point is, the NIA says they have no money, they have the cards in the warehouse but they can’t pay and take. Even if they pay and take they cannot go around and give everybody a card, you have to travel to the district capital to go and get a card.
“I said these are people who don’t even understand the geography of Ghana. If you go to my constituency Bole Bamboi, the farthest branch is 82 miles from the district capital. How much will it cost somebody to take a car, go to the district capital, do a Ghana Card, and travel back?
“The most frustrating thing is sometimes if you go they capture your biometrics, then they say they can’t print the card so go back home, 82miles, and come back after two weeks, another 82 miles, to come and collect the card.
“It doesn’t make any sense. Until a time when the majority of our people of voting age have Ghana Card we must have another system that allows them to prove they are Ghanaians. If my child does not have a Ghana Card, I have a Ghana Card, my wife has a Ghana Card, the child is our child, and we cannot go and guarantee for our child that our child is a Ghanaian, then what kind of people are you?
“Even the Ghana Card itself allows guarantors, if you don’t have a passport and a birth certificate, two people can guarantee for you to have Ghana Card that you are a Ghanaian.
“So if Ghana Card is using a guarantor system, how come voters register can’t use a guarantor system?
“They know what they want to do. That is why they are insisting only on Ghana Card. Because then they can disenfranchise a lot of our people, they can do what they call voter suppression. What they do is, for where they have strongholds they will make sure that more people have the Ghana Card and where they don’t have strongholds they will frustrate you and make sure you don’t have a card.
“You go to the district offices here in Volta region, every day after giving fifteen people their card they will tell you that the system is down, every day the system is down in Volta region, that is what we call voter suppression.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana