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03.10.2022 Feature Article

There Are No Illogicalities or Motivated Reasoning Here, Young Man

There Are No Illogicalities or Motivated Reasoning Here, Young Man
03.10.2022 LISTEN

On the surface of things, Mr. Bright Simons, the Vice-President of the Accra-based IMANI policy research and advocacy institute, may be perfectly on target or on point to identify what the young rising star terms as the “illogicalities” attending one’s inability to use a passport and a birth certificate, one relative as a witness or two professionals as witnesses, four alternative requirements that were perfectly acceptable to enable one to register to vote, if memory serves yours truly accurately, a little over two years ago, to vote in the upcoming 2024 General Election.

The reality here, however, is that the way and manner in which a birth certificate may be acquired in Ghana, short of its being issued at birth in the country, has for decades been known to be very questionable. The same goes for the acquisition of a Ghanaian passport and the “witnessing” procedure. Hopefully, with the declaration of the usage of the National Biometric Identification Card (NBIC) or Ghana Card as the sole benchmark or criterion for voting or registering to vote by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), a relatively foolproof system has been established by which one could authentically or genuinely acquire the Ghana Card (See “Bright Simons Details ‘Illogicalities’ of Ghana Card” Ghanaweb.com 9/17/22).

At the barest minimum, what the requirement and the rigid enforcement of the acquisition and usage of the Ghana Card promises is a consolidation and streamlining of the electoral process in ways that could not be legitimately argued in favor of the past requirements, criteria or processes. In the latter context one is, for example, thinking about the usage of DNA technology to both ascertain and confirm the ages of registrants for the Ghana Card who mischievously decide to play fast-and-loose with the process, such as the criminal condonement of underage voting which was deliberately permitted by Ghana’s first Fourth-Republican Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, that is, the late Chairman Jeremiah “Jerry” John Rawlings and his National Democratic Congress-appointed Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, the retired lecturer of Political Science at the University of Ghana.

In other words, there may be more to the decision by the Jean Adukwei Mensa-chaired Independent Electoral Commission to have only the Ghana Card used as the sole or exclusive criterion for any bona fide Ghanaian citizen intent on voting in the 2024 General Election. Now, what is perfectly kosher or legitimate and acceptable for stakeholders to argue over and about is the question of whether by the close of November 2024, or whenever is the closing date for any bona fide Ghanaian citizen to have been registered to vote, all Ghanaian citizens desiring to cast their ballot, as it were, would have been able to acquire the one necessary and indispensable Ghana Card for this purpose.

As usual, the quarrelsome leaders of the country’s main opposition National Democratic Congress have come public vehemently protesting this admittedly restrictive requirement, on grounds that it risks disenfranchising some Three-Million eligible voters. The Independent Electoral Commission, at a recent press conference, insisted to the contrary that its staff of crackerjack and tech-savvy administrators had done the math and studiously followed the trend and the pace at which the Prof. Kenneth Attafuah-headed National Identification Authority (NIA) has been processing and issuing the Ghana Card, and that the IEC has absolutely no qualms or reservations that by the eve of the scheduled deadline for the close of voter registration in 2024, any bona fide Ghanaian citizen desiring to vote would have been issued the “almighty” Ghana Card upon express demand.

Now, the cantankerous leaders of the National Democratic Congress, foremost among them Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, the dynastic and longest-reigning General-Secretary of the party – aka General Mosquito – have yet to provide any proof or credible evidence to back up their reservations to the contrary. For now, it is our fervent hope that sanity will prevail and things will proceed smoothly as planned.

*Visit my blog at: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York

September 23, 2022

E-mail: [email protected]

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