Prof. Ransford Gyampo, a lecturer at the University of Ghana, has weighed in on the Electoral Commission’s desire to use the Ghana card as the primary document for new voter registration.
The political science lecturer praised the idea but believes that now is not the time to put it into action.
In my opinion, Prof. Gyampo stated that there were challenges and that the EC had failed to reach a consensus on the issue.
“The great ideas behind the use of the Ghana Card as the source document for registration of voters notwithstanding, there are imponderable challenges. Given the challenges, I dare say that this is not the time to introduce such an idea. The timing is wrong and my father, before he passed, told me that, a bad thing is a good thing done at the wrong time.”
He has urged the EC and the National Identification Authority (NIA) to reach a genuine consensus with all stakeholders before implementing the idea.
He advised political parties not to be overly obstinate on the issue.
“But, should the EC and the NIA decide to do the needful by initiating sincere and genuine steps towards consensus building on the matters discussed above, the opposition must also not be overly intransigent. It is only the state that provides us with the opportunity to dialogue to resolve issues, according to Aristotle. So let the state institutions dialogue with the key stakeholders and let the key stakeholders not be overly intransigent. Let us do these for the sake of guarding our peace and preventing democratic relapse.”
Read his full opinion below
Some Thoughts on the Electoral Commission’s Attempt at Introducing a New Constitutional Instrument (CI) to make Ghana Card the only Source Document for Voter Registration:
1. The idea of dealing with our challenge of a multiplicity of identification cards and documents, by creating a Ghana Card or National Identification Card, is most laudable and it must be supported by all. Thankfully there appears to be some elite cross-party consensus on this matter. We tend to carry too many identity cards, including Hospital ID cards, SSNIT cards, Staff ID Cards, Passports, Voters’ ID Cards, driver’s licenses, and National Health Insurance Cards. These tend to create needless identity crises for all of us as a people and as individuals, and make the calls for synchronization of all our identities into one card, the Ghana Card, a wise one.
2. If there is truly the need to synchronize all identities into one card, then the Electoral Commission’s decision to ensure the use of only the Ghana Card as a source document for voter registration is, also great as it facilitates the need for all of us to help in making the call for a synchronized identity a reality.
3. The great ideas behind the use of the Ghana Card as a source document for the registration of voters notwithstanding, there are imponderable challenges. Given the challenges, I dare say that this is not the time to introduce such an idea. The timing is wrong and my father, before he passed, told me that, a bad thing is a good thing done at the wrong time.
4. Why is the timing wrong? The Electoral Commission has been unable to build consensus on this matter, which is a key issue that would contribute to determining the electoral fortunes of political parties in the 2024 General Elections. Without consensus around the EC’s decision, there would be chaos and implosion. Dr Afari-Gyan was wise and cautious in building consensus among the key political actors on major decisions that could have plunged the country into chaos if they had not been handled well. In 2006 for instance, President Kufuor introduced the Representation of the People’s Amendment Law. The bill was fought by Civil Society and many Pro-Democracy Forces through demonstrations, petitions, etc. But the NPP majority passed the bill and the President accented to it the same day to become law. But Dr. Afari-Gyan took a very wise, patriotic stance, never to implement the law, so long as there remained a lack of consensus among the key political actors. His fear was that, without consensus, the implementation of ROPAL could lead to serious political conflict. This is why the ROPAL has not been implemented in spite of Kufuor’s signing it into law with alacrity. I respectfully urge the current EC bosses to copy from best practices as the Bible tells us in 3rd John 11a.
5. Besides, both the NIA and EC suffer from serious trust deficits from the main opposition party, and until these two agencies of state work consciously to deal with this challenge, even the most pious of their intentions may be seen as gifts from the Greeks and be taken with great trepidation. Under the current arrangement, someone with a Ghana Card can guarantee for one to be given a Ghana Card. But someone with a Ghana Card cannot guarantee for one to register as a voter. Secondly, to avoid bureaucratic bottlenecks, one must pay 250 cedis to be able to procure a Ghana Card, a move that undermines the concept of Universal Adult Suffrage. Also, there are allegations that the distribution of equipment for the production of the Ghana Cards is skewed to favor the strongholds of the ruling party and to the disadvantage of the opposition. Again, as of 2020, there were about 17 million people captured by the NIA. Out of this number, huge percentages are minors and foreigners. Also, out of this number, about 3.5 million people have still not been given their Ghana Cards because the NIA has no means to pay about 126 million to procure these cards for its owners. Moreover, the EC must be able to update its register every year but since 2021, this has not been done. Furthermore, the idea of burdening poor people in the hinterlands to look for non-existent resources to travel to only the district capital offices of the EC to register as voters would be demoralizing, disenfranchising, and democratically callous.
6. Given these challenges, including the NIA’s own reported lack of adequate resources to function well in printing the cards of over 3.5 million people who are already registered, and in producing more Ghana Cards, one has no choice but to question why the EC will not first work to deal with the issues that also raises serious trust deficits but would want to pretend all is well, and insist on making the Ghana Card (whose continuous production is not guaranteed because of lack of resources) the only source document for voter registration. Why can’t the EC allow both the use of the Ghana Card and other source documents for registration for the next two or three more elections till we are certain that a certain critical mass of the voting populace across all regions and districts has been able to secure their Ghana Cards?
7. Yesterday, 23rd February 2023, I am reliably informed that in the sitting of Parliament’s Committee of the Whole, when the gallery had been cleared and when there was no media coverage, a more deadly fight than the one that ensued in the selection of the Speaker, took place in Parliament when the above issues were discussed. Members of Parliament have decided to be tight-lipped about it and given the lack of media coverage of the near brawl, many Ghanaians have been kept in the dark. If Honorable Members can freely fight on matters like this, then the least said about footsoldiers outside parliament, the better.
8. We must not allow the E.C. or any Institution of State to plunge Ghana into chaos. We must not allow the indiscretion of any state institution to create a praetorian situation that may entice other people who have no business in government to think about striking to destabilize our peace and to relapse our democratic gains. If simple steps towards consensus building on a major Constitutional Instrument that would impact hugely on the electoral fortunes of political parties cannot be undertaken, then I dare say, the EC is most unqualified to introduce the current CI as its implementation may likely plunge Ghana into conflict.
9. But, should the EC and the NIA decide to do the needful by initiating sincere and genuine steps towards consensus building on the matters discussed above, the opposition must also not be overly intransigent. It is only the state that provides us with the opportunity to dialogue to resolve issues, according to Aristotle. So let the state institutions dialogue with the key stakeholders and let the key stakeholders not be overly intransigent. Let us do these for the sake of guarding our peace and preventing democratic relapse.
The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has embarked on an exercise to promote the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in the Upper East Region.
The nationwide campaign, known as ‘Wo wϽ Gas,’ sensitized traders in the Bolgatanga market on the need to adopt LPG as an alternative source of fuel to the felling of trees for charcoal and firewood.
The NPA Communications Manager, Mr Mohammed Abdul-Kudus said the authority had observed that the Upper East Region is among 8 out of the 16 regions being the low-using areas of LPG and the rest of these regions, included North East, Upper West, Northern, Savannah, Bono, Ahafo, and Bono East regions, respectively.
Mr Abdul-Kudus said the ambitious campaign of the NPA is to have a 50 percent penetration of people using LPG by 2030 as an alternative source of fuel either for domestic or commercial purposes to reduce the threat to the environment.
“If we can get people to move away from firewood and charcoal use, we are going to reduce the incidence of respiratory-related diseases and be able to do some work in our afforestation drive. The adage that says, ‘when the last tree dies, the last man dies’ is what we all trying to avoid,” he added.
Mr Abdul-Kudus while speaking to the media alluded to the fact that LPG may be expensive for rural folks to purchase, however, “studies have shown that it is cheaper to use LPG than to use charcoal or firewood.” He stressed.
He said users of charcoal or firewood eventually may be risking their lives to diseases they could have avoided if they were using LPG.
He reaffirmed that the Chief Executive Officer of the NPA, Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid had put a position paper before cabinet seeking to have some of the taxes or levies removed to have a further drop in the price of LPG.
Mrs Eunice Budu Nyarko, Consumer Services Manager of the National Petroleum Authority admonished the public to keep their gas cylinders away from the kitchen to avoid gas-related fires.
“The cylinders are supposed to be replaced after 10 years of use. Also, there should be regular changing of the cylinder hose. It should be changed every two years if it is used for domestic purposes and remember to change it every six months if it is used for commercial purposes”.
The Upper East Regional Safety 2IC, ADO1 Bright Awonatey Akobanya entreated the public to turn off their cylinders when not in use. He added that the public can always check the cylinder with the usage of the foam solution to ensure that there are no leakages.
The NPA exercise, which was supported by Limehouse, an NGO, saw traders also from the Navrongo, Sandema, and Fumbisi markets sensitized on the safer use of LPG.
Ghana’s Ernest Asante scored in Doxa Katokopias’s 3-2 comeback win against Karmiotissa in the Cyprus league on Friday evening.
Michal Duris scored the game’s first goal in the 23rd minute for Karmiotissa. Karmiotissa led the tie at halftime thanks to Michal Duris’ goal. After the break, Serbian striker Nikola Trujic equalized for Doxa in the 55th minute.
Attacker Ernest Asante gave Doxa a 75th-minute lead before Bojan Kovacevic clinched the victory in the 85th minute. The game concluded 3-2 in favor of Doxa after Nikolas Kaltsas narrowed the deficit.
Ernest Asante’s goal was his second for Doxa this season after making nine appearances. In Doxa Katokopias’ win over Karmiotissa, Ghana midfielder Benjamin Akoto Asamoah came off the bench to play 44 minutes.
Doxa Katokopias is 12th on the league table with 18 points, they will take on Pafos in their next league game on 28th February.