It stated that the decision of the two state institutions to proceed with the Ghana Card and the voter registration exercises on the basis that they could provide personal protective equipment for their staff would expose Ghanaians to infections since they cannot afford same protective gears for the citizenry.
Besides, resuming such exercises would amount to “encouraging the flouting of the President’s directive on the ban on public gathering.”
“We understand that the NIA is going about their registration exercise while the citizens and other public institutions are respecting the President’s directive on public gathering restrictions,” it said.
Call to order
Delivering his closing statement at the first meeting of the fourth session of the seventh parliament, the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, quizzed whether the two institutions are capable of providing PPE for registrants just as they have provided for their staff and whether the decision will not encourage the public to also flout the directives.
“Therefore, I want to call the NIA to order that what they are doing cannot be better than the health of Ghanaians and generality of our population,” he said.
The EC suspended its plans to compile a new voters’ register which was scheduled to begin on April 18, due to COVID-19. It said it was collaborating with health experts to decide on a more favourable date depending on the prevalence rate of the Novel Coronavirus.
It has also submitted to Parliament a Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) which, if passed, shall make the Ghana Card and the Ghanaian passport the only legal identification documents for registering people in the new biometric voters’ register.
Raising concerns about the threat COVID-19 poses to the health and safety of Ghanaians as well as the economy, Mr Iddrisu questioned why there should be one set of rules for the NIA and different rules for judges and other public entities, saying that that “raises a matter of grave concern.”
He told the House that he had also heard the same comment from the EC that they would go ahead with the voter registration exercise since they could provide PPE for their staff.
“It is not about the safety of your workers; it is about our collective and common safety as a people,” he said.
He pointed out that it was regrettable that eight months into the presidential and parliamentary elections “Ghana is debating what register or electoral role will be used for the purpose of the elections.”
“Our position on the matter has not changed. What we want is free, fair and credible elections conducted by the EC that must respect Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution.
“Mr Speaker, it is very interesting that the birth certificate which gives birth to a passport and a birth certificate which gives birth to the Ghana Card itself is not a qualifying document for registration.
“That is interesting. Only in Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s Ghana that (a) birth certificate is no longer a relevant document for the purpose of voter registration” he said.
EC cannot go on with registration
In a reaction, the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, told the House that the EC could not conduct any voter registration presently since the constitutional instrument it submitted to Parliament had not matured.
“So, no registration exercise could go on without the maturation of the constitutional instrument. It is as simple as that.
“So, whoever is alleging that is doing so in complete ignorance; the EC cannot do that and they know what they are doing,” he emphasised.