General News of Wednesday, 13 June 2018
A group calling itself the Strategic Thinkers Network Africa has sued the National Identification Authority (NIA) over a decision to exclude the Voters ID as proof of citizenship in their bid to register Ghanaians.
The group is seeking clarity from the Supreme Court a true interpretation of what constitutes proof of citizenship.
The suit has become necessary after the NIA began a nationwide Ghana Card registration process.
The process is to provide citizens with a multifaceted identity card that will be used for voting, national health, driving license, etc.
However as part of the registration requirement citizens are to provide either a passport or a birth certificate as proof of registration.
In the absence of those two identification materials, persons who wish to be registered and be given the new Ghana Card must come with two witnesses who must have registered already on the Ghana Card to testify that the applicant is a Ghanaian.
This arrangement has not gone down well with a section of the majority, particularly the opposition National Democratic Congress.
The Minority has refused to take part in the registration process, accusing the NIA of attempting to disenfranchise a lot of Ghanaians.
They argue, the Voters ID remains the most popular ID card for a lot of Ghanaians. Banning it will mean failing to register a lot of Ghanaians.
They have threatened to go to court on the matter.
But the NIA has expressed shock at the position of the Minority.
Executive Secretary of the Authority Prof Ken Attafuah was on the floor of Parliament, Tuesday explaining to the MPs why the Voter’s ID had been taken out.
He said the NIA is a creature of statutes and was operating in accordance with the laws passed by the MPs.
“The Parliament of this Republic in its collective wisdom and experience, has determined that the documents that can be used for the Ghana Card are birth certificates and valid passports.”
“The Parliament of Ghana has declared that the Voter ID is not one of the identity documents for getting the Ghana Card,” and made copious references to the new law passed by Parliament.
He therefore found it strange the same legislators who passed the law are now kicking against its implementation by another state agency.
But not everyone is impressed with the explanation. A member of the NDC, Edudzie Tamakloe who is acting as lawyer for Strategic thinkers Network Africa insists the Apex court must intervene.
Mr Tamakloe told Joy News, Wednesday, “citizenship is conferred by virtue of the constitution and no other law.”
He said anybody with the Ghana’s Voters card has passed the constitutional requirement and must be allowed to register.
He added any exercise geared towards registering cannot be said to be legal and appropriate without the Voter’s ID.
Edudzie Tamaklo stated further that the court has the power to review decisions taken by Parliament including the ammendment on the new registration process.