Progressive Peoples Party (PPP) yesterday expressed displeasure at the boycott of the registration of the Ghana Identification Card by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) minority in Parliament.
According to the PPP, it was outraged an attempt by the NDC Members of Parliament (MPs) to scuttle this national exercise for the second time.
According to the National Policy Advisor for the PPP, Kofi Asamoah Siaw, the reason for the boycott was unacceptable.
He made these observations at a press conference in Accra
He did not understand why the NDC minority who contributed to passing of the law which exempted the use of voters’ ID as proof of citizenship, will now turn around and accuse the National Identification Authority (NIA) of failing to use the same card as a primary document in registering citizens.
“In as much as the NDC MPs have the right to oppose the restriction of the identification requirements for registration to Passports and Birth Certificates, we believe the law was unanimously passed by MPs from both sides of the house. The question is, were the NDC MPs asleep when they accepted the current four ways of proving citizenship?” he asked.
To the PPP, “the current law passed by parliament allows the use of passports, birth certificates or when an applicant is unable to submit any of the required documents, a “Ghanaian citizen” relative or relation of the applicant may identify the applicant under oath and alternatively where the applicant has no “Ghanaian citizen” relatives available, two persons determined by the NIA Board as Ghanaian citizens may identify the applicant under oath”.
“It is our considered opinion that the NDC MPs should blame themselves and not the NIA. Rather than boycotting the exercise, the NDC MPs still have an opportunity to amend the law by introducing a private members bill to seek to amend the law. The NDC MPs are entitled to pursue this path so that the voter’s ID card, which exclusion from the list of valid proofs of citizenship is the cause of the current cacophony, will be added”, Mr. Siaw added.
Kofi Asamoah Siaw further revealed that the Hansard of Parliament at no point did the NDC MPs object to the proposed means of proofing citizenship.
Mr. Asamoah continued that, the committee’s report under proof of citizenship, the chairman reported to the House that the bill sought to do away with the use of voters’ identity card, drivers’ license and baptismal certificates and rather maintained the use of birth certificates and passports only and introduceD residence permit and other documents evidencing acquired citizenship.
According to him, the NDC supported the report, and quoted Alhaji A. B. Fuseini (MP, Tamale Central) as saying, “there is no controversy in the amendments. It seeks to expand the field of information that would be required and bring the information up to date with modern trends. As I joked in the meeting, they are trying to make it impossible for anybody to hide in this country or outside the country”.
The NDC, he said, therefore should not be allowed to continue their disservice to Ghana even in opposition when they blatantly refused to implement the Ghana Card policy for the eight years they were in power.
“We want our cards NOW and nothing should be allowed to derail such an important national exercise. We need to demonstrate competence in managing our own affairs by raising a credible national database which objective cannot be sacrificed on the altar of political mischief and unbridled propaganda”, he bemoaned.
Story: Elizabeth ARMAFIO