The Electoral Commission (EC) has stated that Ghanaian birth certificate does not offer enough basis to determine one’s nationality to register as a voter in Ghana.
According to the Chairman of the EC, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, the disqualification, which was recently made by Parliament, also included baptismal certificate and the reason was that these two documents could be easily be done by quacks.
He stated that proof of a Ghanaian to register as a voter as part of the forthcoming biometric voters’ registration, includes a Ghanaian passport, voters identity card, national identity card, National Health Insurance Card.
Any qualified voter who does not have any of these could be registered if two qualified voters would certify at the registration centre, after filling a form, that such a person was a qualified Ghanaian voter.
Dr Afari-Gyan was responding to a question posed by the Inspector General of Police, Mr Paul Tawiah Quaye at an interaction between EC officials and the top hierarchy of the police administration on the biometric voters’ registration at the Police Headquarters in Accra.
The IGP wanted to find out who a Ghanaian is, an inquiry he believes when settled, will eliminate a lot of doubts and ensure sanity at various registration centres and also secure a register that did not included names of unqualified voters.
The EC Chairman noted that the commission had once written to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice’s office for the clarification of who a Ghanaian was for the purposes of registration,??? but the office could offer any explanation????.
He said the hitherto, a person born in the territorial waters of Ghana to non-Ghanaian parents were even considered as Ghanaians but all these have changed with the coming into force of the 1992 Constitution.
Responding to a concern by another police officer, Dr Afari-Gyan noted that “It is easier for a naturalised Ghanaian to prove that he is a Ghanaian because of his naturalisation certificate than for a full blooded Ghanaian to prove his nationality,” he added.
The IGP also raised the issue of the possibility of hackers tempering with the biometric system, but the EC Chairman assured that it was for that reason that the political parties would be given hard copies of details of those who would be registered at each registration centre daily.
Aside that, he indicated that every registered voter would be given a photo identity card immediately after registration and that on the day of voting, the EC would have a hard copy of the register as well. He added that all these processes provide adequate guarantee against such hackers, because it would secure a hard copy that would be clean.
The chairman conceded that previously, police personnel could not prosecute electoral offenders because they were not properly equipped with the right information, and gave the assurance that with the amended electoral laws, the police would be given the adequate information to be able to effect arrest and successfully prosecute offenders.
The biometric registration, which is meant to compile a fresh voters list, begins from March 24 to May 5, 2012.
Biometric voter registration is the use of computer methods to incorporate features of voters such as face and the 10 fingers during the registration process. A qualified voter, after registration, will instantaneously be given a photo identity card.
All applicants for the registration are required to provide their names, dates of birth, age, sex, residential addresses (house number of your present abode), names of parents (dead or alive), home town (residential address in home town if different from present abode) and districts where hometown is located.