Economy

Review C.I carefully for nation’s interest -CDS-Africa to Parliament

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Independent think-tank the Centre for Democracy and Socio-Economic Development (CDS-Africa) has asked parliament to review thoroughly the proposed Constitutional Instrument (C.I) for voter registration and engage in constructive dialogue before it matures to become law.

This assertion was contained in a press statement issued by the group and signed by Dr. Frank Barnor, senior research analyst and Dr. Abena Boateng, director, research.

The statement follows the EC’s chairperson, Jean Adukwei Mensah presentation to Parliament last Tuesday February 28, 2023, on new CI 126. CIs are usually made to address specific administrative or procedural issues and are subject to parliamentary scrutiny. The proposed reforms of CI 126 by the Electoral Commission of Ghana include the use of the Ghana Card as the only document for the registration of new voters. This means that other forms of identification, such as passports, driving licenses, and the guarantor system will no longer be accepted as valid forms of identification for voter registration.

For CDS-Africa, in spite of the mixed reactions it generated they reckon “On that score, CDS Africa agrees with the proposed reforms of CI 126 by the Electoral Commission of Ghana, particularly the adoption of the Ghana Card as the only document for registering new voters. We consider these reforms to be strong and forward-looking, and we anticipate that they will enhance Ghana’s democratic reputation.

However, it is important all sides of the house carefully consider the contents of the CI and engage in constructive dialogue to ensure that any concerns are addressed before it matures into law. The democratic process in Ghana is built on transparency, accountability, and dialogue, and these principles  must be upheld in the legislative process. We would therefore urge parliament to engage in a fruitful debate to ensure the provisions in the CI are fine-tuned with the greatest interest of the nation at heart and towards a more transparent voters register  that will stand the test of time.” the statement noted.

CDS Africa also urged the government to provide adequate funding to the Electoral Commission and the National Identification Authority (NIA) to facilitate the resolution of the pending applications for Ghana Cards. Furthermore, should these reforms be passed by parliament we implore the authorities to expedite the registration and issuance of Ghana Cards for all citizens and take measures to prevent any form of voter disenfranchisement.

At the same time, CDS Africa would strongly encourage the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to partner with the Electoral Commission to promote awareness of the reforms through civic education and prevent the spread of misinformation among the public. We believe that such collaboration will promote transparency and ensure that citizens are adequately informed about the proposed changes should it be passed by Parliament.

The Electoral Commission has showcased its ability to fulfil its responsibilities by registering over 17 million voters in just 38 days during the COVID-19 pandemic. CDS Africa encourages the Electoral Commission to maintain its excellent efforts in promoting transparent and equitable elections in Ghana.

The purpose of this reform is to ensure that voter registration is more efficient and accurate. The use of the Ghana Card is expected to reduce the incidence of multiple registrations, impersonation, and other forms of electoral fraud. The reform is also expected to make it easier for eligible voters to register and participate in the electoral process.

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