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HomeGeneral NewsMrs Jean Mensah Clears All Doubts Regarding Ghana Card Brouhaha

Mrs Jean Mensah Clears All Doubts Regarding Ghana Card Brouhaha

The adoption of the Ghana Card as the only form of identity for ongoing voter registration, according to Electoral Commission (EC) Chair Jean Mensa, will ensure the legitimacy and integrity of the nation’s voter register and support elections generally.

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In order to assist the EC in the registration process, the Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), Professor Ken Attafuah, claimed that his organization was prepared to provide Ghana cards to eligible citizens voters.

Ken Ofori-Atta, the minister of finance, also pledged that the government would honor all financial obligations made to support the voter registration effort.

The Minority Members of Parliament (MPs) put up arguments to support their stance but were not persuaded by the procedure to make the Ghana Card the only form of identification accepted for registration.

Yesterday on the floor of Parliament, the EC chairperson was there to inform the Committee of the Whole on the revised draft Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2022.


The Finance Minister and the Executive Secretary of the NIA were also present to brief the committee on the feasibility of using the Ghana Card as the only form of identification for the ongoing registration of new voters, as proposed in a new Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) that has not yet been presented to Parliament.

It came about as a result of the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, ordering the EC Chairperson to visit and brief members on the new draft C.I. on Thursday.

She made an appearance in the House alongside the NIA’s executive secretary and the minister of finance.

The trio emphasized the various difficulties that the commission’s and the NIA’s implementation face, as well as what the Finance Ministry should do to make their work easier.

Before the EC could lay the C.I. in the House, dialogue with Parliament was conducted as part of the pre-laying process.

The C.I. supports year-round registration of eligible voters in the district offices of the EC in order to encourage ongoing voter registration.

It is a clear improvement over the previous system, which only allowed for temporary voter registration.

The limited voter registration operation only allowed for the temporary registration of new voters.

The implementation of the Ghana Card, according to Mrs. Mensa, would restrict the enrollment of children on the register and prevent foreigners from enrolling and casting ballots.

She claimed that getting rid of the guarantor system, which was open to misuse and encouraged conflicts and violence, would also stop the district registration review committee’s laborious, expensive, and time-consuming follow-up procedures.

According to Mrs. Mensa, the new C.I. and its rules are not intended to deny eligible Ghanaians their right to vote.

On the other hand, the continuous registration process will be inclusive because it will allow for the inclusion of everyone who would otherwise have been left out of a limited registration procedure.

“The exercise is not a periodic or restricted one that might result in people losing their right to vote if they don’t have a Ghana Card.

More specifically, it will stop unqualified people from interfering with our elections and choosing who should lead our nation. This is a problem that threatens our country’s sovereignty. Simply put, only Ghanaians who are qualified to vote must be allowed to do so,” she said.

According to the EC Chairperson, the EC will be in compliance with regulation 7 (1) of the Legislative Instrument (LI) issued by Parliament, the National Identity Registry Regulations LI 2114, by employing the Ghana Card as the primary form of identity for the year-round voter registration activity.

The national identity card was to be used, according to the regulation, for a range of procedures requiring identification, including registering voters, she claimed.

Everyone who is qualified to vote would be able to register to vote under the new proposal, according to Ms. Mensa, by simply walking into any of the district offices of the commission in the district where they intend to vote.

She said that the procedure marked a significant improvement over the previous limited registration exercise, in which those who were unable to register had to wait until the following phase of the restricted registration exercise in order to do so.

The key benefit of continuous registration is that, once the election is underway, potential voters can register whenever they’d like.

The EC Chairperson stated that since registration will be a year-round process, eligible voters who are interested in voting but have not yet registered can do so at their convenience.

The EC was confident that the registration would minimize the bussing of potential applicants to the registration centers and result in an orderly, conflict-free process, so Mrs. Mensa explained that applicants would not be confronted with lengthy lines, impatient crowds, and conflicts that could escalate to violence.

The guarantor mechanism, which up until now permitted a registered voter to attest for citizenship, would be eliminated if the draft C.l. is adopted, and the age of potential candidates would no longer be taken into account during the registration process, according to Ms. Mensa.

“The guarantor system has provided us with a number of difficulties throughout the years, which is why. Sadly, because a national identification certificate like the one provided by the NIA was not present, we were unable to throw it away much earlier.

The guarantor system has the drawbacks of allowing registered voters or guarantor contractors to guarantee or vouch for those who are under the age of 18, as well as allowing guarantors to do so for foreigners. Such unqualified individuals attempted to enter the register through the guarantor system door.

The guarantor method was not ideal in any way, but we had no other choices available at the time because a large number of people did not have the Ghana Card. At the time of registration, 10 million Ghanaians were already utilizing the Ghana Card to prove their nationality, according to her.

The NIA has promised to print and distribute the remaining cards to registrants in a matter of weeks, and Mrs. Mensa continued by saying that the EC did not believe “we will disenfranchise persons by enforcing the policy requirement of using the Ghana Card to prove one’s eligibility.” 16 million Ghanaians currently have the Ghana Cards.

According to the EC Chairperson, although there were other documents needed to demonstrate a person’s eligibility for the 2020 election, more than 60%, or over 10 million registered voters, utilized the Ghana Card as their primary form of identification at the conclusion of the exercise.

Almost 17 million Ghanaians had registered for the card, and approximately 16 million Ghana cards had been issued, she said the House, according to reliable information provided to the commission.

According to Ms. Mensa, the commission is certain that the 1.5 million applicants “we are anticipating to register by the end of 2023 are likely to already own the Ghana Card” based on those figures.

According to our estimations and the report from the 2021 Census, we expect to register between 450,000 and 550,000 Ghanaians annually.

The 450,000 to 550,000 people we aim to register each year are most certainly already in possession of the card, according to our estimation of the 17 million persons the NIA has registered.

She advised any Ghanaian who would turn 18 in 2023 or 2024 and was interested in participating in the country’s elections to go to the closest NIA registration centers and register for the Ghana Card in order to participate in the 2024 elections.

According to Prof. Attafuah, the NIA had provided 900,000 cards to Ghanaians as of 2017 and had registered 4,554,528 Ghanaians. It had also printed cards for 2,719,425 Ghanaians.

He said that as of February 19 of this year, the authority had added 17,375,861 Ghanaians, who were at least 15 years old, to the national identity database.

According to the Executive Director, the authority had printed 16,737,734 cards at the same time.

Of the total population of 17,375,861 Ghanaians, 16.9 million are adults over the age of 18, whereas 17,229,000 adults over the age of 18 are registered voters on the EC voters’ register.

Out of the country’s 31 million people, 2,565,705 Ghanaians aged 15 and older have not yet been counted, he said.

According to Prof. Attafuah, there are 17.3 million Ghanaians who are 15 years of age or older and have been added to the national identity register. Of those, 642,403 cards have been printed but have not yet been picked up by applicants.

541,529 cards have not yet been printed, he said, attributing the problem to the authority’s ongoing financial struggles that began in July of last year.

According to Prof. Attafuah, the scenario prevented the authority from gaining access to the 3.5 million blank cards it had brought into the nation but were being stored in bonded warehouses.

As these financial difficulties were resolved, the NIA’s Executive Director reassured Parliament that the authority had the technical and operational capabilities to print and issue those 541,529 cards in record time.

He told the House that out of the roughly $100 million in debt it owed to its partners, Identity Management Limited and Cal Bank, $80 million had been settled.

To facilitate the release of the more than three million Ghana Cards held in bonded warehouses, Mr. Ofori-Atta indicated that a deal had been struck with CalBank for a GH100 million facility.

“To guarantee that the 3.5 million cards are released, we have committed to a GH100 million facility.

The remaining GH20 million would be paid by this evening, and GH80 million has already been deposited, the speaker continued.



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