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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Ghana Card is not proof of citizenship – Kofi Bentil

Ghana card

The Vice President of IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil, says the Ghana Card is not a proof of citizenship.

According to him, the Ghana Card is just a card that confirms an individual’s citizenship.

“Having or not having a Ghana Card is not what makes you or does not make you a Ghanaian,” he said.

Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile on Saturday, Mr. Bentil noted the Constitution requires that “if for any reason you don’t have the Ghana Card but you can prove that you are a Ghanaian, you have the right to vote.”

His assertion comes after the Deputy Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC) in charge of Corporate Services, warned prospective voters to obtain a Ghana Card since that will be the only requirement for registering to vote in the 2024 elections.

According to Mr. Bentil, per the provisions of the 1992 Constitution, “any means you can use to show that you are Ghanaian is valid” therefore “using Ghana Card as a primary document is illegal.”

Mr. Bentil stated that, while administrative procedure is required to identify individuals and prove them to the EC official whose job it is to allow citizens to vote, that administrative procedure does not take away one’s right to vote.

“If you read the various C.Is it shows that Election Officer should just confirm that you are a Ghanaian and of sound mind, the things that you need to do and you are on the register.”

“We must figure out a way to prove what is already in existence ..the NIA by now should have created that system given that the NIA is an authority on identification. The failure of the NIA is part of why we are where we are and I think that they should get their acts together,” he added.

Meanwhile, Director of Elections for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, has appealed to the Electoral Commission (EC) to allow other national identification documents to be used for registration to vote.

He said the EC should allow persons with passports and birth certificates to register and vote in the 2024 elections.

Speaking in an interaction on JoyNews’ Newsfile on Saturday, Mr. Ankrah said if this approach is used, it will make the voter registration process for prospective voters easier.

“Over the years since 1993 provision is made that apart from the primary document which in this case will be the NIA card, there should be some provision for other documents and in the past, it was the driver’s license, Ghanaian passport and guarantor system,” he said.

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