The National Chairman of the New National Democratic Congress (NDC) Samuel Ofosu Ampofo has said the Electoral Commission (EC) is seeking to undermine Ghana democracy through the proposed Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Instrument.
Upon a careful study of the draft regulations, he said, the NDC has 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.”
He indicated that there are two implications of this regulation.
The first, he stated, this regulation is clear on the face of it that the Ghana Card shall be the only proof of identification for purposes of voter registration. In other words, what this regulation seeks to do is 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.
“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,” Mr Ofosu Ampofo said at a press conference in Accra on Tuesday September 20.
He added “The second implication 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 National Identification Authority (NIA).
“They would have been denied the right provided for them under Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution.”
“The 1992 Constitution provides only three conditions for registration as a voter; The person has to be a citizen of Ghana; The person must be of sound mind; The person must be eighteen years old or above.
“Therefore, no subsidiary legislation can be used to undermine this provision. That is the reason why since the inception of the Fourth Republic, all regulations governing registration of voters have always provided the guarantee system in order to take account of all qualified persons who for one reason or the other do not possess the requirements. To remove this provision from the C.I. and make the Ghana Card the sole requirement for registration is to deny all such persons the right to register and vote and this is a complete breach and violation of Article 42 of the Constitution and so therefore is unconstitutional.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana