General News of Wednesday, 13 June 2018
The National Identification Authority (NIA) on Tuesday began the registration of Members of Parliament (MPs) and parliamentary staff in Parliament, but the Minority MPs refused to participate in the exercise.
The Ranking Member on the Constitutional, Parliamentary and Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, who spoke to the Parliamentary Press Corps, said the Minority MPs would continue to boycott the registration exercise until the determination of the issue of the use of voters ID cards.
He spoke to the press after the NIA had briefed Parliament on the national identification exercise.
During the question-and-answer session, the Minority MPs haggled it out with the acting Executive Secretary of the NIA, Professor Ken Attafuah, and the Deputy Minister of Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr William Kwesi Sabi, over the issue of voter IDs.
While the Minority MPs, led by their leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, argued that the law, especially Article 42, supported the use of voter IDs, Prof. Attafuah and Mr Sabi insisted that the LI governing the national ID registration did not recognise the voter ID as one the IDs required for the Ghana Card registration.
Alhaji Fuseini said the committee that considered the National Identification Registration Regulations, 2012, LI 21111, which was amended in 2017, made a wrong assumption in its conclusion that in the Abu Ramadan case the Supreme Court had excluded the voter ID as proof of citizenship.
He said the Supreme Court only mentioned the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) card as being tad document that did not prove the citizenship of the holder.
He said even in LI 21111 there was provision for holders of other national IDs to make them available for the registration.
Mr Iddrisu said the Minority MPs supported the Ghana Card registration in principle but were opposed to the processes.
He said from the information provided by the NIA, only two million Ghanaians had passports and seven million had birth certificates, which meant that only nine million out of the 29 million Ghanaians would be entitled to register for the Ghana Card.
He wondered what would happen to the 15 million Ghanaians holding voter IDs.
Prof. Attafuah said many people had voter IDs but they were not Ghanaians, hence the decision to exclude the voter ID and make birth certificates and passports the root documents for the registration.
He said there was a provision, through the help of guarantors and commissioners of oath, to register those who did not have birth certificates or passports.
Prof. Attafuah said even when people came with birth certificates and passports, they would still go through an interview process.
Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament has threatened to go to court to ensure that IDs are accepted for the Ghana Card.
It said Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution specified that citizens of 18 years and above were eligible to register for the voter IDs and, therefore, removing voter IDs as one of the documents required for the ongoing Ghana Card registration was illegal.
Besides, it said the current Legislative Instrument (LI) on the national ID registration made provision for voter IDs and other similar documents to be accepted for the Ghana Card registration.