Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, founder of policy think tank Danquah Institute has described as “silly lies”, claims by former President John Mahama and the Minority in Parliament that the Akufo-Addo government intends using the Ghana Card registration process being undertaken by the National Identification Authority (NIA), to de-nationlise over 20 million Ghanaians.
Mr Mahama had said on Saturday, 9 June 2018 in the Volta Region that the Akufo-Addo government was using “illogical” criteria for the registration and acquisition of the Ghana Card, which, in his view, was designed to de-nationalise some Ghanaians.
The former president assured the public that the NDC will fight on the side of Ghanaians to ensure they are identified and not de-nationalised by the NIA in the process of acquiring the national identification card.
The NIA has suggested the use of only passports and birth certificates as documents for the registration of citizens for the Ghana Card.
However, Mr Mahama, who was addressing a gathering of supporters at the NDC’s Unity Walk, said: “This is a deliberate attempt to de-nationalise some of our people and we shall not accept it. We will use every legitimate instrument that is possible under a democracy to ensure that every Ghanaian is able to register”.
According to him, “If you go to one of the villages in my constituency [Bole] and let me use an example, Hodiyiri, it’s a small community in Bole Bamboi, perhaps, nobody in Hodiyiri has a birth certificate or passport so for the 300 or 400 people in Hodiyiri with no birth certificate or passport to prove that they are Ghanaians, how are you going to register those people in Hodiyiri?”
“And, so, I don’t know, it is illogical and short-sighted and a very strong symbol of incompetence that you cannot think far and see that on the basis of what you have prescribed as a criteria for qualification of the national ID card, you are going to disenfranchise more than 20 million of our citizens and that is unacceptable, and, so, the NDC is going to do everything to fight for the best interest of the majority of the people to make sure they are going to be identified to be given cards so that they can be identified as bona fide Ghanaians”.
Meanwhile, the NDC’s Minority in Parliament has also served notice it will boycott the registration exercise over the same matter.
The caucus also alleges that contrary to claims by the NIA that the exercise will cost $239 million, it will drain the Ghanaian taxpayer of $1.4 billion.
The NDC, as a party, also engaged the NIA and demanded that Ghanaians be allowed to use their voter ID cards for the registration exercise instead of just the passport and birth certificate since many people may not have those two documents.
Responding to Mr Mahama and the NDC Minority, Mr Otchere-Darko wrote on Facebook that: “John Mahama and the Minority are speaking against the National ID registration. Anokwa! For 8 years they spent money every year on the NIA but were not able to issue a single ID for any Ghanaian.
“Yep! Talk about waste and incompetence. Now, they say they are boycotting the registration exercise and they are doing so with a silly lie that only Ghanaians with a birth certificate or passport are allowed to register so it will de-nationalise Ghanaians.
“That is not true! If you don’t have a passport or a birth certificate you can still go to the registration point with a family member (a Ghanaian) to vouch for you and you will be free to register. Even if you were so so unlucky that at the time of your birth every single member of your clan were at the village for the celebration and all of them (bar none) were hit by a huge asteroid and died instantly, leaving you alone, you can still show up with two Ghanaians to vouch for you for you to register and pick up your ID card free.
“So, let’s ask them: who are the NDC actually fighting for – certainly not Ghanaians? Please, while at it, ask the NDC to refund every pesewa they spent in 8yrs on the NIA without producing one ID card for any Ghanaian. That should shut them up – I hope”, Mr Otchere-Darko added.