A former national chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Peter Mac Manu, has said the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) cannot prevent the Electoral Commission’s (EC) new Constitutional Instrument (CI) from being laid in Parliament.
The Electoral Commission is currently urging Parliament to pass a new CI which seeks to make the Ghana Card the sole means of identification to register as a voter.
But the Minority Caucus is against the EC over regulations set out in the CI.
According to the Minority Caucus in Parliament, the new CI, if passed by the House, will disenfranchise many eligible voters.
Policy by tangent
However, speaking with Nana Yaa Mensah on Sunday Night on Asaase 99.5 in Accra, Mac Manu said: “Since 1992 I have come across various constitutional instruments from CI12 to the current CI172. Every election there are new instruments brought to Parliament and they ultimately become effective for the running of that election.
“Thirty years ago we started using the guarant[or] system … and 30 years after, we should still go on the same tangent? Why? We don’t grow as a country?”
Mac Manu said the Ghana Card remains “one of the surest ways of removing minors from the voters’ register”.
He said the Inter-Parties Advisory Committee (IPAC) has met three or four times on the issue of using the Ghana Card as the sole identity card that can stand as proof of identity in registering for a voter’s ID card.
“IPAC has resolved and agreed to the use of the Ghana Card as the sole method of identifying citizenship for registration purposes. And at any IPAC meeting, the NDC are invited, but they have decided not to come …
“I have followed constitutional instruments from the Electoral Commission since 1992 and my simple knowledge of the constitution is that when the CI is laid, it can be truncated by a two-thirds majority [of MPs in Parliament].
“So if they want to truncate it, they should gather the two-thirds and go and truncate it, but you can’t prevent the CI from being laid …” Mac Manu said.
He continued: “Every reform that we [NPP] have brought into the electoral system to make the integrity high, they have refused to accept but ultimately when it is accepted everybody knows it is going to bring credibility to our elections.”
Clean voters’ register
Mac Manu said there is a need to stop minors from registering to vote in the country and that “we must abandon the guarantee system”.
The EC chair, Jean Mensa, briefing the House on the proposed CI, said the move will facilitate the Commission’s work in the 2024 general election.
She said the new CI will promote continued registration of voters and allow for an all-year-round registration of eligible voters at EC district offices.
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Mrs Mensa told Parliament that the Ghana Card is only a requirement to register as a voter and will not replace the voter identification card.
“Once you present your Ghana Card and successfully register as a voter, you will be issued a voter’s identification card, which bears the code of your region, district, electoral area, and polling station,” the EC chair said.
“Mr Speaker, I wish to emphasise that the Ghana Card does not have these features, therefore it will not be used to vote in the 2024 general election.”