Opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia has said National Identification Authority (NIA) officials are deliberately preventing so many people from registering in the ongoing exercise for the Ghana Card in the Volta Region.
It appears to be a co-ordinated and sinister attempt by the NDC to push an agenda that the NPP government hates the people in the region.
Since the registration for Ghana Card commenced in the region on July 22, 2019, the NDC, which is an avowed critic of the exercise, has not relented in putting impediments in the ways of the registration officials.
The NDC General Secretary during the celebration of the Eid-al-Adha in Ho on Sunday said some NPP government officials had colluded with NIA officers to do what he claimed to be selective registration of the people.
He said specifically that it was “unnecessary for someone to try to suppress population in some regions for election purposes.”
He said majority of the people in the region had been prevented from registering for the card so that it would be used as the basis to say they are not Ghanaians and this was being done because of elections.
There is no official confirmation that the Ghana Card is to be used as Voters’ ID Cards but the NDC is already on the offensive, claiming that the ongoing exercise would serve as the basis for a new 2020 Voters Register compilation.
“Registrations as citizens everywhere is the basis for development so let’s look at it from that angle and not politics and voting,” he said.
He said the EC is the only body mandated to determine what should be used for voting and that the Ghana Card could not replace voters’ card.
“Numbers matter. Denial of development starts from citizenship so let us all get involved and stop the frustrations,” he said.
The NDC General Secretary’s comment is similar to one made by the party’s Director of Elections, Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, when the exercise commenced in the region.
Mr. Afriyie-Ankrah, alongside the party’s Volta Regional executives, held a news conference in Ho on August 7, accusing the government of deliberately delaying the processes for the registration of the Ghana Card as a way to denationalize Voltarians.
Without any basis, he had claimed that the Ghana Card would be used for the compilation of a new voters’ register for the 2020 general election and that would be used to disenfranchise people from the region.
The NIA Director of Public Affairs, Francis Palmdeti, last week debunked the NDC claims and said the coverage of the Volta Region is even higher than what transpired in the Greater Accra Region but the opposition party is still on a propaganda spree.
“The NIA reject the claims that we are deliberatively disenfranchising people in the Volta Region because that is farther from the truth. It is in the interest of the NIA and the nation that we get as many Ghanaians in the national data base as possible,” he said.
He also debunked claims that the NIA is going to register those who do not get captured after the August, 14, 2019 deadline for a fee, saying the fees would apply only to those who have misplaced their cards.
He said 120 centres out of the existing 350 centres in the region would be retained to do a mop-up exercise to enable more people to register.
As of last week, he said 318,000 which translates into more that 50% of the targeted 572,000 in the region had been captured.
From Fred Duodu, Ho