General News of Wednesday, 13 June 2018
The Minority in Parliament is heading to court to challenge the National Identification Authority’s basis for only accepting passports and birth certificates to establish citizenship for the registration and instant issuance of the Ghana Card.
It wants the Voters’ ID card to also be accepted as proof of citizenship.
The Minority Spokesperson on Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Inusah Fuseini, insisted to the media the NIA was wrongly interpreting the landmark 2016 judgment in the Abu Ramadan vs Electoral Commission case. The Supreme Court ordered the Electoral Commission to expunge from the voters’ register the names of all persons who registered and voted in the 2012 elections with the National Health Insurance (NHIS) card as a proof of identity.
The judgment followed contentions that non-Ghanaians had been registered using the NHIS card.
Until the legal challenge is resolved, the Minority will be continuing its boycott of the process.
“We will challenge same and we have also decided that in view of the fact that more than 50 million Ghanaians have the Voters ID card as proof of citizenship and the fact that they are refusing to accept same for the basis of registration… We as a Minority will stay out of the registration process until a determination of whether or not the Voters ID card can be used as proof of citizenship as the purposes of getting onto the NIA platform,” Inusah Fuseini stated.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP was speaking after the Deputy Monitoring and Evaluation Minister, Dr. William Sabi, told Parliament the government will not compromise on its laid-down procedure.
Inusah Fuseini maintained that the NIA’s approach was violating the constitution.
“It is wrong in terms of Article 42 of the constitution, it is also wrong in terms of the decision of Abu Ramadan and it is also wrong in terms of LI [Legislative Instrument] 26… the Abu Ramadan case decided that NHIS cards are not proof of citizenship, and not the Voter ID card.”
“They have transposed the decision onto the use of a Voter ID card and we think that is wrong, it is illegal, it frowns in the face of the constitution and it is an illegal attempt to amend 42 of the constitution, which categorically says anybody who qualifies as a voter is entitled to be registered.”
The Minority in Parliament has also threatened to stage a demonstration to protest the NIA’s methods.
Former President John Mahama has already described the NIA’s approach as illogical.
According to him, the move will denationalize over 20 million Ghanaians.
But he assured that the NDC will do everything possible to have the identification scope expanded for the exercise.
Swearing of affidavits
In the government’s presentation to Parliament on Tuesday, it indicated that the only alternative in the absence of passports and birth certificates, will remain the swearing of affidavits.
Over 2, 700 personnel are being trained by the Judiciary to administer oaths and certify Ghanaians without the required identification.
Dr. William Sabi stressed the importance of keeping the registration process watertight.
“Every reasonable effort will be made to assist Ghanaians to establish their eligibility to register for the cards… [but] every reasonable effort must also be made to exclude foreigners from registering as Ghanaians.”