EC must not rush CI through Parliament-Abraham Koomson

Mr. Abraham Koomson, Secretary General of the Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL), has urged the Electoral Commission not to rush its proposed Constitutional Instrument through Parliament, to avoid disenfranchising many eligible voters. Mr Koomson said having a CI that would make the Ghana Card the only acceptable document for the registration of voters card and subsequent qualification to vote as a Ghanaian was inconsistent with provisions of the 1992 Constitution. He cited Article 42 which stipulated that ‘Every citizen of Ghana of eighteen years of age or above and of sound mind has the right to vote and is entitled to be registered as a voter for the purposes of public elections and referenda.’ Mr Koomson gave the caution at the Ghana News Agency platform when reacting to the ongoing debate on continuous Voters Registration CI, which has drawn divergent arguments from parliamentarians, political parties, civil society organizations, and the public. He noted that it would be prudent for the EC to take its time and allow the National Identification Authority (NIA) to register, at least, over 90 percent of the eligible voters before going for such a CI. He said the current laws could be used to do the continuous registration for those who qualify while the Commission considered laying the instrument before parliament around June of 2024. Mr Koomson said no one was against the use of Ghana Card as a document for the acquisition of a voter’s ID card, but rather the rush to do so without recourse to its effect on the fundamental rights of the citizen. ‘Ghana Card is a tenable identification document but the EC or the government has the responsibility to facilitate access to the card by all eligible citizens,’ he said. He noted that it was unfortunate that neither the EC nor the government had demonstrated the desire to take responsibility for the registration of eligible citizens to enable a good number of the people to exercise their franchise. Mr. Koomson said there could not be any justification for any new CI to be rushed through while the NIA was still in the process of exhausting the registration of citizens. He stressed that relying solely on the Ghana Card for registration of eligible citizens to be able to vote in elections without creating a congenial environment for potential voters was a breach of the constitution. On the issue of the guarantor system, he said there was no need removing that from the registration requirement. He added, however, that the EC could put in measures to strengthen it and use it alongside the Ghana Card and other credible identity documents such as passport.

Source: Ghana News Agency