President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has once again jabbed the Minority in Parliament for doing a U-turn on their unanimous approval of the National Identification Authority (NIA) law which requires that only passports and birth certificates should be the primary required documents to get people registered and issued with Ghana cards.
According to President Akufo-Addo, it was unfortunate that something that was done on a bi-partisan national consensus basis was being disapproved by the Minority in Parliament and members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Addressing a gathering of chiefs and people at Anloga on Monday, as part of his three-day visit to the Volta Region, where the Awomefia of Anlo, Torgbui Sri III was in attendance, President Akufo Addo said despite the opposition to the Ghana card project, it shall surely be completed during his time.
“Torgbui, Awomefia, for the last 8 years before the NPP came, we were unable to do anything about the National Identification Card. You live here, very close to Togo and you know that everybody there [Togo] may have Carte d’identité [identification card] and it helps them in the organisation of their national life,” President Akufo-Addo stressed.
He expressed concern that up to now, “we [Ghana] have not been able to do it, eight years came, nothing happened. Parliament has passed the law, which the NIA or authority is implementing.”
“NIA has not refused to do anything other than what Parliament passed. The legislation that is insisting on passport and birth certificates is not the work of the NIA, it is the work of Parliament, it is the law passed by Parliament, so statements that the NIA is deliberately refusing this or that is unfortunate.”
President Akufo-Addo said those raising objections to the project were not familiar with the legal situation and the rationale behind it.
“We want to get a situation where it is clear that everybody is entitled to it. I [Akufo-Addo] have no interest whatsoever in disenfranchising any Ghanaian, the card is meant for Ghanaians and that is why Parliament with the full support of both sides of the House, the Minority and the Majority, both supported the new law that is being applied by the NIA.”
“So it is unfortunate that some people [Minority] are approving and disapproving their own work. The work that was done by Parliament was done on a bi-partisan national, consensus basis.”
Intermittently calling out the name of Torgbui Sri during his address, President Akufo-Addo said “there is no justification for people coming to say these particular people [NPP] are doing this to disenfranchising X, Y or Z.”
“We are not disenfranchising anybody. If you don’t have a birth certificate, you don’t have a passport, all you have to do is to produce somebody who is a Ghanaian to vouch for you and you will get your papers,” he explained.
Adding, he said “It is written into the law, that you produce somebody who has already registered, they can come to vouch for you and you will get your papers. So there can be no question that anybody is going to be disenfranchised.”
“But we need to do it, we need to do it for our planning, we need to do it for the organization of our state. We cannot continue an exercise that has lasted, it began in Kufuor’s time and up to now, we have not completed. By the grace of God it will be completed in Akufo-Addo’s time,” he stressed.
President Akufo-Addo said his government has been in power for 18months and has shown that “we are for all parts of Ghana, school feeding programme, free SHS programme, all these programmes are Ghanaian programmes and they are for all parts of the country,” he said.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament led by Minority leader, Haruna Idrissu did not participate in the registration process when officials of the NIA went to register parliamentarians in Parliament House.
According to them, failure by the NIA to use the Voters’ ID card as proof of citizenship was discriminatory.
A new law passed by Parliament requires that only persons with passports or birth certificates are to be are registered.
Those without the approved primary documents must produce two people, either family members or people who have already registered for them to vouch them under oath as truly being Ghanaians before they can also be registered.
The idea behind this provision in the law is to help prevent abuse and ensure that only Ghanaian nationals are registered and issued with Ghana cards.
Even though the minority supported and unanimously approved the amendment of the law, they have made a u-turn and kicking against its implementation.
In protest over the NIA’s insistence on following the law by disallowing the use of the Voters’ ID, the minority and NDC members have decided to boycott the entire registration process.