The next general elections in Ghana may be two and a half years away, but the two main political parties in the country are already at each other’s throat and trading accusations over votes, particularly, in the Volta Region.
While the Minority in Parliament is screaming that the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) is plotting to rig the 2020 elections, through its machinations at the Births and Deaths Registry, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has rubbished the claims by members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that his administration intends to disenfranchise some Ghanaians, predominantly those from the Volta Region.
At a press conference yesterday, North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, alleged that the Minority had picked signals of government usurping the functions and authority of the Electoral Commission , citing what he described as ‘exceedingly suspicious, unwarranted and unfair posting transfers of persons in charge of the Births and Deaths Registry in the Volta Region’, but the President says residents of the Volta Region, particularly those living close to Togo, are already aware of the “Carte Nationale d’Identité”, Togo’s National ID card, and laments Ghana’s inability, for well over 8 years, to have her own National ID card.
Okudzeto quoted Article 45 of Ghana’s Constitution, which states that, “The Electoral Commission shall have the following functions: (a) to compile the register of voters and revise it at such periods as may be determined by law”, and threatened the opposition would consequently seek constitutional interpretation of the action of the government at the Supreme Court.
The Minority added: “…It has become very obvious that the Akufo-Addo Government, seeing that it has performed abysmally in power has hatched a grand scheme to prevent as many people as possible in the Volta Region where they lack support, from obtaining basic documents needed to register for the Ghana Card even as they continue to resist sound advice to include the Voter ID”.
But the president, who is currently on a working tour of the Volta region, said: “NIA has not refused anything other than what Parliament passed. The legislation that is insisting on passports and birth certificates is not the work of NIA. It is the work of Parliament. It is the law passed by Parliament, so statements that the NIA is deliberately refusing this or that is unfortunate. It means the person or those who are saying this, are not familiar with the legal situation.”
He continued: “I have no interest in disenfranchising any Ghanaian. The card is meant for Ghanaians, and that is why Parliament, with the full support of both sides of the House, the minority and majority, supported the new law that is being applied by the NIA. So, it is unfortunate that some people are approving and disapproving their own work.”
The Minority argument notes: “It is important to bear in mind that the NPP Government intends to use the Ghana Card registration data as the foundation data to be used for an entirely new voters register. As can be observed, recent developments at the Electoral Commission with the removal of the Electoral Commissioner and her two deputies sets the perfect stage for the NPP as part of their grand scheme to pursue their agenda of rigging the 2020 elections.
“The NPP must be forewarned that no responsible Ghanaian who cares about our nascent democracy including those of us in the Minority will sit idle and allow them to continue on this reckless path to bastardise the democracy we have all toiled to build and for which they have become the biggest beneficiaries”.
But President Akufo-Addo, in a counter, stressed: “We are not disenfranchising anybody. If you don’t have a birth certificate, passport, all you have to do is to produce a Ghanaian to vouch for you, and you get your card… The NIA card is needed for our planning and for the organization of our state”.
Source: By Frederick E. Aggrey