Politics

EC plans to reject old voters ID cards and birth certificates for new registration

graphic.com

The Electoral Commission (EC) is planning not to accept old voters ID cards and birth certificates as a primary form of identification in the new voters registration exercise planned for April 2020.

This will be enforced if the new proposal for amendment in the Constitutional Instrument (CI) for the registration currently before Parliament becomes law.

The EC on Monday (March 16) sent a proposal to Parliament for an amendment in the Constitutional Instrument 91 (CI) which guides the conduct of elections in Ghana.

In the proposal, the EC is seeking an amendment in Regulation 1, which talks about documents to be accepted as a form of identification as a Ghanaian before registration.

The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and the Majority Leader in Parliament, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu made this known in a radio interview Wednesday morning (March 18, 2020).

He was speaking to Accra based Okay FM which was monitored by Graphic Online.

He said if it becomes law, the only primary documents to be accepted for registration would either be a Ghanaian passport or a Ghana national identification card (Ghana Card).

It excludes birth certificates and old voter ID cards.

Anyone who does not have any of those two documents would have to get people to vouch for them that they were indeed Ghanaians before they will be registered.

Per the move, anyone holding an old voters ID card issued from 2012 till date or a birth certificate  cannot use it to register.

This is because of the assumption that some people used national health insurance (NHIS) ID cards for the initial registration which has been outlawed by the Supreme Court and the EC ordered to remove names of people who used it to register following the Abu Ramadan and Evans Nimako case at the Supreme Court.

Even though the EC before the 2016 general elections removed names of those who registered with the NHIS cards as their primary form of identification, Graphic Online understands there is still arguments in some political circles that there are some names still in the current register.

Minority rejects proposal

Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament says the proposal for amendment is not acceptable and that the EC should revise its notes to include the old voters ID cards and birth certificates otherwise, it would be rejected.

Speaking to Okay FM a Minority Member of Parliament on the  Subsidiary Legislation Committee, Mr Rockson Nelson Dafeamekpor said unless birth certificates and old voter ID cards were added, they will reject it.

He argued that the national ID card registration currently ongoing has not been completed and many people even though have registered, they were yet to be issued with ID cards.

Many, he said have also not been able to register as of now.

Following this, Mr Dafeamekpor said the EC ought to add birth certificates and existing voters ID cards.

CI 91 Amendment before Parliament 

Graphic Online’s reporter in Parliament, Nana Konadu Agyeman reported that the EC last Monday submitted to Parliament a Constitutional Instrument (C.I) for a legislation to be passed for the Ghana card and the passport to be made the only legal documents for one to be registered in the new voter registration.

Per the instrument, those who do not have those two national identification could however go ahead to register on condition that they could be backed by two persons who have already registered.

The C.I., which will amend the relevant law or C.I. 91, was signed by the Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Jean Mensa.

It was laid before the House by the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, before the House could rise late Monday.

Per the Constitutional Instrument put before the legislative body, “A person who applies for registration as a voter shall provide as evidence of identification one of the following: a passport, a national identification card, or one voter registration identification guarantee form as set out in Form one of the schedule that has been completed and signed by two registered voters.

It stated that a registered voter “shall not guarantee the identity of more than 10 persons.”

The instrument is currently under consideration with the Subsidiary Legislation Committee, chaired by a former Deputy Attorney-General, Dr Domnic Ayine, is expected to mature in 21 days.

If Parliament approves the amendment, it will mean that other forms of national identification such as the existing voter’s ID card, birth certificate and other national documents cannot be used in registering for the new voter ID card.

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