Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”