Mahama Ayariga Backs EC Over Ghana Card For Voting

Mahama Ayariga

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, is backing the plans by the Electoral Commission (EC) to adopt the Ghana Card as the only source document for continuous voter registration to vote in the 2024 general elections.

According to him, the Ghana Card should replace the Voter ID card for voting in elections in Ghana.

In July, the EC placed before Parliament a draft C.I titled: Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2021, which is expected to regulate continuous voter registration.

Per the new C.I, the EC is seeking to make the Ghana Card the sole form of identification for eligible voters who want to get onto the electoral roll.

The C.I has been referred to the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament. By convention, the committee is chaired by a member of the Minority group.

This is contrary to the view of his political party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) which has served notice that it will resist any attempt by the Electoral Commission to use the Ghana card as the sole identification document for voter registration ahead of the 2024 elections.

According to the NDC, such a decision will disenfranchise many qualified Ghanaians.

In a statement released by the NDC and signed by the National Chairman, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo said it will reject any such attempt by the commission.

“The party wishes to use this opportunity to remind the Electoral Commission that under Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution, every Ghanaian of eighteen years and above and of sound mind is entitled to register as a voter for the purposes of elections. This right to register and exercise one’s franchise is an inalienable right that should not be denied citizens who qualify to exercise same”.

The party also said it will not sit aloof and watch the ruling NPP undermine the 2024 polls with the electoral commission.

“We wish to assure Ghanaians that the NDC will not sit aloof for the NPP government to collude with Electoral Commission to rig the 2024 elections and inflict more pain and hardships on them. We are therefore urging our agitated supporters to remain calm as we take all legitimate and appropriate steps to ensure that they are not disenfranchised”.

However, Mr. Ayariga indicated using the Ghana Card to vote will be more prudent.

He pointed out that “The law doesn’t say we cannot change it [the card used to vote]. We can change it to say if you have a Ghana Card, the Electoral Commission should recognise that for the purposes of voting because the same information that you are going to give to get a Ghana Card is the same information that the Electoral Commission would be asking for.”

“As we speak, I personally don’t have a problem with saying if you have a Ghana card, just go to the polling station and show it to the EC and vote.”

The MP speaking on Citi TV was of the strong believe that using the Ghana Card would make life easier for Ghanaians.

“Why should I struggle to get a Ghana Card and after that go and struggle to get a voter ID Card?”

Mr Ayariga further suggested that the EC should work with the National Identification Authority to make sure everyone gets the Ghana Card.

“They know how to carry out a registration exercise within a short period. The National Identification Authority should liaise with them,” he explained.

Mr. Ayariga called for strong collaboration between the EC and the National Identification Authority (NIA) to address any bottleneck to avoid any future problem.

“They cannot insist that I must get a Ghana Card before I come and get a voter identity card. I don’t think that this is constitutionally right,” he mentioned.

By Vincent Kubi