I am aware that the confusion regarding the new registration for the VOTERS ID using the Ghana Card has not subsided. Due to the ongoing, heated political activities, the discussions have been temporarily suspended. NDC has vehemently opposed the Electoral Commission's (EC) proposal to use the Ghana Card as the only registration requirement. They assert, among other things, that it will disenfranchise many Ghanaians who may wish to acquire a voter identification card for the express purpose of voting. EC appears to be adamant about its position, even though civil societies have expressed the same misgivings. The National Identification Authority (NIA), which is responsible for issuing Ghana Cards, has attempted to defend the EC's position, but it has encountered the same resistance.
I view this back-and-forth speculation as a matter of putting things in the best light. Mischief perpetrated in opposition to EC and NIA's Ghana Card initiative is counterproductive in this regard. The EC's top priority is to eliminate the guarantor system, which allows political parties to register minors and foreigners on Ghana's voter register. This article examines the best perspective that could aid in correcting the misrepresentation of the EC's move as hostile or detrimental to a specific political party. In resolving this mischief, I examine state and individual responsibilities.
Without equivocation, the state must ensure that no eligible voter is denied the opportunity to exercise their constitutional right. Therefore, I support the position that individuals may be disenfranchised if the state does not adequately ensure equity, access, and the smooth acquisition of the Ghana Card, which could lead to the acquisition of a voter identification card. What measures has the state taken to ensure that it has fulfilled its obligations? Though the NIA assures us that they are diligently working to ensure that as many Ghanaians as possible obtain a Ghana Card, our only concern is whether or not they are being truthful. This is because the finance minister has previously alluded to financial constraints and has recently assured the legislature that the funds will soon be released to NIA. If this assurance is reliable, then we can confidently assert that the state is making every effort to fulfil its obligations. What remains is the individual for whom the state works. What is his obligation too?
It is advantageous for political parties to advocate for their potential supporters who may not have obtained the Ghana Card. Regardless, it would be undemocratic for politicians to mislead the public into believing that the state must work for its citizens without their participation. If one wishes to vote, it is the individual's responsibility to acquire a Ghana Card. Ultimately, not everyone would want to obtain the Ghana Card for voting purposes, but rather for other reasons, such as business or financial transactions. Citizens, but not spectators, must do their part to ensure that they use the opportunity the state will provide to obtain a voter identification card only if they intend to vote. Citizens' decisions not to obtain the card cannot be held against the government. In other words, if political parties feel a sense of responsibility towards their supporters, they should encourage them to obtain the card rather than attempting to thwart the EC.
It is of the utmost importance that we preserve the integrity of our EC, which has gained credibility in the subregion. A system designed to ensure best practices must not be discredited by political ambitions. It is the responsibility of both the state and the individual to ensure that whatever procedure is implemented does not prevent anyone from exercising his civil rights. Thus, when our understanding of the entire process of obtaining a VOTER’S ID using a Ghana Card is submerged in this premise, we will spare the EC of political attacks and safeguard our democracy from perpetual insecurity.
(Demographer, Social Activist, Human Rights Advocate, Educator)