The Minority in Parliament has expressed its unhappiness at moves by the Electoral Commission to reduce centres for the upcoming registration exercise for the 2020 general elections.
According to Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, the reduction of the centres will disenfranchise millions of Ghanaians during the exercise.
Speaking to the media shortly after a meeting between Parliament’s Special Budget Committee and the EC led by its Chairperson, Jean Mensah, the Tamale South MP, said the intended action of the electoral management body is an affront to the laws of the land specifically, Article 42.
“I feel profoundly troubled for the future of Ghana’s democracy and I feel disappointed that in her answers to questions at the Committee level, she made two significant worrying statements that the people of Ghana must know.”
“To paraphrase her words, they intend to phase out the registration exercise in some 6,300 registration centres out of the 33,000 centres across the country. That troubles my heart because article 42 will not be observed in essence through making available to Ghanaian people a legitimate and guaranteed right, they are entitled to under article 42. Phase-out registration exercise; not absolute, not countrywide not in every registration centre and not in their 33,000 gazetted polling stations. The numbers they are giving today contradicts what has been gazetted,” he said.
Mr Iddrisu also noted with worry how the EC and the NIA are not working in harmony to ensure the synchronisation of data collected so far for the registration exercise. He added that the essence of the Ghana card registration was to ensure data of citizens are stored to be reproduced as and when necessary.
“In answer to a simple question, she said they do not intend to use the data of the NIA. So what will they do with the national ID card? Any person walks there, no opportunity for verification no opportunity for authentication. She emphasised that they will use it only for the purpose of identity that you are a citizen of Ghana.”
“So she doesn’t understand what it means to share data, to synchronise and to harmonise the data. The chip in the Ghana card, if you build it into a dedicated and well-built software and hardware, your biodata must necessarily show up and you should be able to verify and authenticate it at that polling station. I do not see any cooperation and collaboration even though that has been made an essential primary reference document. Her assurance is that they will accept it only for the purpose of identity that you’re a Ghanaian. Not a use of the data already processed and stored?” he quizzed.
He also reiterated the NDC’s opposition to the compilation of a new register saying the EC has “no legal or technical justification” to do so.
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