Thursday, June 28, 2018


By William Yaw Owusu & Melvin Tarlue
Thursday June 28, 2018

Former President Jerry John Rawlings and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) are split over the Ghana Card.

While the former President has picked his card, a move presupposing his acquiescence with the citizenship identification exercise, his party, the NDC and former President John Mahama, who have boycotted it, are on a different wavelength.

Owing to his decision to pick the Ghana Card, former President John Rawlings has attracted criticism from members of his party who claimed he went contrary to the party’s position to boycott the whole registration exercise being conducted by the National Identification Authority (NIA).

Yesterday, the Minority downplayed Rawlings’ decision, saying that he does not represent them, a statement which certainly widens the schism between the NDC’s founder and key elements in the party.

Initial Boycott 
The NDC Minority in Parliament, which called for a boycott of the registration exercise, insisted that they would not take part in the exercise if NIA does not allow Ghanaians to use their Voters ID cards to register for the new Ghana Card.

The NIA has stated on numerous occasions that applicants would have to produce birth certificates, passports or produce two referees to vouch for them in order to obtain the Ghana Card.

In spite of the supposed NDC boycott, NIA has continued its registration exercise which commenced two weeks ago.
So far, state institutions, including the Presidency and Parliament where only members of the majority participated, had been covered.

NDC Fire 
In the ensuing heat, the office of the former President John Rawlings released a statement urging stakeholders to re-examine concerns about the National ID.

“The  attention  of  the  office  of  His  Excellency,  Jerry  John  Rawlings,  has  been  drawn  to publications  in  sections  of  the  media  and  on  social  media  platforms  insinuating  that  his decision  to  register  for  the  National  Identity  Card  was  a  call  to  members  of  the  National Democratic  Congress  (NDC)  to  disregard  the  position  taken  by  the  party  and  the  Minority in Parliament,” Kobina  Andoh Amoakwa of the Communications  Directorate of the Office of the former president said.

The statement said “the  office  wishes  to  state  that  it’s  spurious  to  suggest  that  former  President  Rawlings made  a  call  against  the  Minority.”

“The  principle  of  Ghana  having  a  valid  Identity  Card  System  is  what  the  former  President is  committed  to  and  he  respects  positions  taken  to  ensure  that  the  process  is  transparent and  easily  accessible  to all.”

“The  former president  urges  all  stakeholders,  especially,  the  National  Identification Authority  and  both  the  Minority  and  Majority  caucauses  in  Parliament  to  deliberate dispassionately  on  the  concerns,  many  of  which  are  legitimate,  in  a  bid  to  bring  sanity into  our  democratic  process  and  ensure  that  all  eligible  Ghanaians  benefit  from  the process.” 

Cynical View
NDC MP for Ningo Prampram, Sam Nettey George, was cynical on Citi FM on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 when news broke that former President Rawlings had registered for the Ghana Card.

He claimed Mr. Rawlings was misled into registering for the card and said the ex-President would not have registered if he had consulted the Minority.

“I believe if President Rawlings had asked us as a Minority to explain and expatiate what our challenges are, he would have appreciated our position better and possibly aligned more with us, but unfortunately he did not grant us audience to explain.”

Kufuor Request 
Apart from Mr. Rawlings, the office of former President John Agyekum Kufuor has also been covered, but DAILY GUIDE learnt that former President John Mahama, who is backing the NDC MPs, did not take part in the exercise.

After receiving his Ghana Card, former President Kufuor reportedly urged the NIA to consider the Voters ID Card issue to ensure that all Ghanaians register for the new Ghana Card.

He explained that if Ghanaians can use the Voters ID cards to select leaders to govern them, then they should also be able to use it to register for the Ghana Card.

“How would you say you also have the ‘Kokromoti power (right to vote) which will make and unmake a government? So the voters’ ID has to be part of it.”

Mahama Jab          
Prior to the NDC’s statement to boycott the Ghana Card registration, former President John Dramani Mahama lambasted the government for trying to skew the process in favour of a few people.

During the Unity Walk in Aflao in the Volta Region on June 9, 2018, he described the NIA registration requirement, which excluded the Voters ID Cards as ‘illogical’ and 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.”

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