Foreigners, Voters’ ID Cards

BUSTED! Abdulai Hakuy

The arrest by the police at Kasoa of a Nigerien citizen undergoing a process for Ghana Card is another pointer at how much our various citizenship identification processes have been compromised with impunity.

Of such documents, the most abused is the voters’ identification card; hence our Electoral Commission (EC) being festooned with a bloated voters’ register which lacks integrity.

It is household knowledge how Togolese bearing our voters’ identification cards have over the various elections come in to vote in this country for a particular party.

The abuse of these security documents is facilitated regrettably by citizens who should rather be supportive of the protection of the integrity of our citizenship proofs.

Abdulai Hakuy, 43, whose story appeared in yesterday’s edition of this newspaper, was riding on a Ghana voter identification card to acquire the Ghana Card. His colleague who was helping him to commit the illegality fled when the police attempted to arrest him.

It is instructive that the suspect claimed to have acquired the voter identification card at Kasoa Zongo.

The citizenship fault line in our Zongo communities is enormous and poses a challenge for both the National Identification Authority (NIA) and the EC because most non-Zongo residents are unable to differentiate between Ghanaian Zongo residents and foreigners in their midst.

Although the NIA has in place various conditions to ensure that only Ghanaians acquire the Ghana Card there are, of course, instances of abuse. Without the cooperation of citizens, these abuses are bound to happen regardless of available bastions.

Very soon, the EC will start the process of registering qualified persons for the purpose of compiling a new voters’ register. The test of citizenship is, of course, one of the requirements for the new smart voters’ register.

While we know that the Ghana Card would be one of the requirements we ask that the commission should think out if possible another means of making it impossible for unqualified persons from registering to vote in this country.  

The Nigerien citizen who would soon be arraigned was able to acquire the voters’ card because in the Zongos there are many foreigners from neighbouring countries such as Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Niger, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso. These persons in many instances are supported by some unscrupulous citizens to acquire these security documents for fees, of course. Some assist these foreigners to acquire identification cards so such persons would vote for their parties during the polls, a practice which has persisted over the years.  

Although the Zongos are peopled by Ghanaians fourth generation descendants of their forebears, there are many foreigners living among them who when it is time for citizenship registration pretend to be citizens.  Unfortunately, some bad elements in the Zongos encourage unqualified Nigeriens, Burkinabes and even Togolese to register for our voters’ identification cards.

Posting Hausa-speaking Ghanaians who hail from the Zongos to these parts of the country to undertake registration of citizens for both the Ghana Card and the voters’ registration will help tremendously. Only such officials can determine accurately those who are qualified and not for the aforementioned security documents.  

For those who think there is nothing wrong with the current voters’ register this, although a tip of the iceberg, is ample evidence about how unqualified persons were able to acquire our voters’ identification cards.  

Imagine such unqualified persons queuing to choose a President and MPs for this country.

There are many such unqualified persons wielding our voters’ identification cards and it behoves us to open our eyes so that they don’t get the chance to register when a new register is being compiled for the December polls.