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Using Only GhanaCard as a source document for 2024 will disenfranchise millions of Ghanaians – Afari- Gyan To EC


According to Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, a former chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), the decision to use the Ghana Card as the only source document for continuous voter registration may result in millions of eligible voters losing their right to vote.
Speaking exclusively to Graphic Online, he claimed that making the Ghana Card the only form of identification for voter registration went against electoral inclusivity, fairness, and justice because many Ghanaians find it difficult to obtain their cards.

If a person is over 18 but does not have a Ghana Card, they do not lose their citizenship. Therefore, it is irrelevant to ask why the Ghana Card is the only form of identification for determining eligibility to register to vote, Dr Afari-Gyan questioned.

The chairman of the EC with the longest tenure in the history of the nation gave an exclusive interview to Graphic Online in which he discussed a new Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) on voter registration that the EC had submitted to Parliament.

Read the full statement in the Monday, August 8, 2022 edition of the Daily Graphic.

Professor Kenneth Attafuah, the Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), informed the media last month that his organization had distributed 15.7 million Ghana Cards to Ghanaians out of the 16,969,034 who had registered.

Given that those with Ghana Cards included those under the voting age of 18 and that the Ghana Statistical Service predicted that the number of people 18 and older would reach 19.5 million in 2023, Dr Afari-Gyan, who served for 22 years between 1993 and 2015, believed that there was a high risk that many people would lose their right to vote as a result of using the Ghana Card as the only source document for voter registration.

He counselled the EC to carefully consider its insistence on the Ghana Card because, despite playing a crucial role in elections, the electorate, not the EC, decided which candidates would win.

“The electorate decides who becomes king. Therefore, one of the fundamental duties of any electoral commission is to make it easier for people to exercise their right to register to vote and not to impede that right by requiring them to provide documentation that is difficult for them to obtain, the official continued.

The EC presented a draft C to Parliament last month. It is anticipated that my title, Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2021, will govern ongoing voter registration.

The EC is attempting to make the Ghana Card the only form of identification required for eligible voters who wish to be added to the electoral roll, per the new C.I., which would become law after 21 days of the legislative session.

The Parliament’s Subsidiary Legislation Committee has been tasked with handling the C.I. By custom, a minority group member serves as the committee’s chair.

Before becoming effective, orders, rules, or regulations made in accordance with the terms of a law passed by the legislature or a provision of the constitution must be laid before the legislature for 21 sitting days.

Any such subsidiary legislations laid are referred to the committee for review to see if they are in line with the overall goals of the constitution or the Act they are made in accordance with.

It also determines, among other things, whether the legislation involves spending from the Consolidated Fund, directly or indirectly bars court jurisdiction, gives retroactive effect to any provision that violates the Constitution or the terms of an existing Act, contains any matters that the committee believes should be covered by an Act of Parliament, or has a form or structure that requires further clarification.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication do not in anyway reflect the opinions of State News Ghana

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