The Attorney General recommended that the Electoral Commission ( EC) consider the use of National Identification Registry (NIA) data for potential lists of voters.
Gloria A. Akuffo said it would not only save some money for the government, but it would also inspire national unity.
At the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) webinar held at the Law Court Complex in Accra, the Minister of Justice spoke on the topic: “Enhancing national cohesion: the nature of the open, equal and accountable democratic mechanism.”
Ms. Akuffo noted that as of September 8, this year, the NIA had enrolled over 15 million citizens and 13 million cards distributed with ongoing mob-up activities, apart from attempts to open NIA offices across the country, and hopefully all Ghanaians will soon have the Ghana card.
“It could also be prudent for the EC to use the NIA database to compile the Voters Register and to adopt and nominate the Ghana Card as the identification card to be used in the country’s future elections.”
The AG claimed that the strategy would be in accordance with the EC ‘s mandate under Article 42 of the Constitution.
‘In addition , the Constitution does not limit the EC to the extent that the document to be included in the collection or creation of the register of voters given that the document assured that only Ghanaians 18 years of age and older and of sound mind were registered to vote in compliance with Article 42.
“No legislative impediment forbids the EC from using, for the purposes of general elections and referendums, the National Registry of Voters or the National Identity Card,” she said.
On the GBA theme, Ms Akuffo emphasized the need, through a systemic approach, to use the force of citizenship to preserve and advance national cohesion.
She called on Ghanaians, therefore, to remain committed to raising the bar of civility and dignity in the public political debate and voter mobilization of the nation.
“We must carefully cultivate the enablers of cohesion in our country,” she said.
Ms Akuffo said the country’s cohesiveness relied on the degree to which the nation reinforced and permitted elements of free, equal and responsible elections to manifest themselves in the political body of Ghana.
We must reduce the tempo of political rivalries and antagonism marked by ethnocentrism and pre-modal racism, “she said, adding that” both appear to undermine our national solidarity.
The Minister stated that if Ghana struggled to deepen and extend the scale of popular confidence in the electoral system, it faced undermining itself.
Ms Akuffo, for instance, said that political parties should become greater outlets for the mobilization of the nation’s ideas.
“As citizens, we have to work harder to reduce the spate of election-related violence,” she said.
Ghana’s quest for national integration dates back to the colonial period, Professor Henry Kwasi Prempeh, Executive Director of the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), noted.
Therefore, he said, Ghana’s achievement of national integration could be described as “a work in progress.”
Prof. Prempeh acknowledged that the “Winner Takes All” rules of Ghana, the allocation of jobs by protocols, the distribution of government scholarships did not augur well for national stability and called on political parties to oppose race in their campaigns.
He also urged chiefs, institutions of civil society, and the clergy not to fail the country.