The Progressive People’s Party says the solution to ridding the country’s voters’ register of minors and foreigners lies with an unimpeachable national database like that of the National Identification Authority.
According to the party, Ghana cannot have a credible register as being demanded for by many people if the Electoral Commission fails to use the database of the NIA as the reference point in registering people to vote in public elections.
“If we don’t utilise the NIA database, we are afraid the current problem of identifying citizenship and age will never be resolved, and therefore this country will never have, as in the past and present, a truly credible voters’ register,” Kofi Asamoah Siaw, General Secretary of the party has said.
Speaking at the Electoral Commission’s forum on new voters’ register Thursday afternoon, he said the issue of minors and foreigners on the country’s electoral roll can only be a thing of the past if the Commission is to rely on the source data of the NIA.
He said: “With the use of the NIA card there shall be no minors and non Ghanaians on the register. There shall be a new beginning for all Ghanaians and we shall have faith in our voters’ register forever”.
Mr. Siaw wondered how Ghana can compile a voters’ register of Ghanaians of 18years and above when it did not have effective means for the EC to determine who Ghanaians are and what age they carry.
“We have been compiling all the voters registers from a non-existing database, how is it ever possible to compile a voters’ register from that which does not establish a voter’s nationality and his or her age,” he asked
“If we want to register Ghanaians of 18 years and above, then we should find a way to identify who is a Ghanaian,” he added, noting that the EC lacks the legal capacity to decide who is a Ghanaian and who is not, and what age the person carries.
According to Mr. Siaw, a scrutiny of the law establishing the EC and its various supporting regulations shows that the EC EC “lacks the practical know-how to create the source information required to ensure that only Ghanaians of 18 years of age and above are on the voters’ register for the purposes of public election.”
He noted the forms of identification [old voters’ card, drivers’ licenses] required for one to be registered as a voter does not confer Ghanaian nationality on the holder of such identification card neither does it confirms one’s age.
Meanwhile the party has advocated electronic voting to among others, reduce the workload on the EC as well as make the system of voting in the country transparent and efficient. That, Mr. Siaw explained, will also avoid spoilt ballot cast which at the last election, was so huge that he said it would have changed the election results.
He said if electronic voting is not possible in the upcoming elections, at least the commission can begin working on the policy framework.