Former President John Dramani Mahama has called for room to be made for Ghanaians who are yet to be served and enrolled on to the Ghana Card until full and total coverage is achieved in the rollout of the card.
This, he said, would enable them to exercise their democratic rights of voting.
“They cannot be excluded from the voter register due to no fault of theirs. This should be clear and quite easy to appreciate,” Mr Mahama stated in his remarks delivered at the closing ceremony of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Parliamentary Minority Caucus Workshop in Ho.
The workshop was organised to sharpen the skills and boost the NDC Minority Caucus’ repertoire of knowledge as parliamentarians.
He noted that the Electoral Commission (EC) appears determined to ensure the disenfranchisement of sections of the Ghanaian population at all costs through a misguided insistence on the use of the Ghana Card as the only source of identification for a voter card.
“How do you do this, knowing that the Ghana Card is not available to everyone who should have one?” Mr Mahama quizzed.
“The Ghana Card is a relatively new feature of our national life and has its merits in the scheme of things,” he said, and added that, “now, it is being brandished more as a political tool around which all manner of schemes is being fashioned towards elections.”
The former President said there was the need to allow sufficient time for its full integration into the Ghanaians’ way of life before this kind of unhelpful exclusion of all other legitimately acquired, credible and time-tested forms of identification was implemented.
He said the National Identification Authority (NIA) could not claim to have covered every Ghanaian who should be registered or distributed all the cards printed to those who had been captured in their system.
“They have failed to distribute hundreds of thousands of cards to people who have registered,” Mr Mahama said.
“The haste on the part of the Electoral Commission to exclude all other means of identification is therefore clearly indecent and informed by an ulterior objective.”
He recalled that last week, the Minority Caucus in Parliament raised red flags over suspected attempts to compile a new register on the sole basis of the Ghana Card.
He said the EC had been quick to deny that it harbours any such intentions. He said until the advent of the current leadership of the Commission, this denial would have marked the end of the matter.
“The Commission in its present guise is known to have walked back on similar commitments in the recent past, and so we in the NDC will maintain eternal vigilance to ensure that no such thing happens,” Mr Mahama said.
He noted that the process of continuous registration as canvassed by the EC must necessarily include a system that enables all political parties and relevant stakeholders to possess the capacity to monitor the same in real-time, to avoid fraud and exploitation to the undue advantage of any party.
“We in the NDC will insist on this,” the former President said.