Member of Parliament’s Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Mahama Ayariga says the Electoral Commission’s proposal to use the National Identification Authority’s guarantor system is untenable.
According to the legislator, EC Chairperson Jean Mensa failed to pay attention to the specifics of her outfit’s guarantor system which she is trying to abolish.
The EC has presented a Constitutional Instrument (CI) to Parliament that would make the Ghana Card the only form of identification accepted when applying for a Voters’ ID Card.
According to the EC, the use of the guarantor system in generating a voters’ register was not credible because people who were not eligible to vote could maneuver their way in and get registered.
Thus, in implementing the proposed CI, the EC claims it will deter foreigners and minors from getting onto the voters’ roll.
But Mr Ayariga pointed out that, the Ghana Card that would be used as the sole document of identification for the voter card is also generated by using a guarantor system.
Speaking on Newsfile, on Saturday, he told the host, Samson Lardy Anyenini, “if genuinely her problem is that her guarantor system is open to abuse, so she wants to rely on the guarantor system of the NIA – because the NIA is also using a guarantor system to produce the cards and she wants to rely on those cards… we [the NDC] don’t have a problem.
“The more I talk about this, frankly speaking, the more I am compelled to present Jean Mensa in a negative light … she’s a lawyer, so sometimes some of the things that she says, I ask myself … why is she not paying attention to detail?
Mr Ayariga added that, “She [Jean Mensa] said that her guarantor system is not as robust as the NIA guarantor system, why? Because they swear an oath. We [Minority Caucus] said really? Have you read the NIA law? You haven’t even read it, because if you have read it, you wouldn’t even be saying what you are saying.”
The Bawku Central MP further explained that the NIA law has made provisions for two guarantor arrangements.
He said that the first guarantor arrangement — arrangements by parents — was employed when the individual registering for the Ghana Card had a relative that could attest to their Ghanaian citizenship.
The Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee member added that the second guarantor system which required the use of the commissioning of an oath was employed when a person registering does not have a family who can vouch for their Ghanaian identity.
“The issue is for relatives, they don’t even need the intervention of a commission of oaths. It is where the relatives are unknown that is in the NIA act, then it is commissioners of oath that he must swear to … before and they guarantee. So, clearly, she didn’t even read the legislation before coming up with such a very serious proposal,” the legislator reiterated.
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