Hon Edward Kaale-Ewola Very
AHEAD of the 2020 general elections, Hon Edward Kale-Ewola Dery, Member of Parliament for Lambussie, has raised the alarm over attempts by governing New Patriotic Party ( NPP) to clone the National Identification Card, currently being issued by the National Identification Authority ( NIA).
According to him, Article 42 of the 1992 constitution remained supreme to any Act that the NIA cloud upon to exclude voters ID Card as proof of citizenship.
He accused the government of embarking on ill motivated agenda to deny citizens the right to be registered onto the national card.
Mr Dery made these allegations in an interview with THE REPUBLIC ,in parliament in Accra yesterday.
The NIA has banned the use of voters’ identity cards, drivers’ licence and baptismal certificates as proof of Ghanaian to register onto the national card.
The authority required only passport and birth certificate as proof of evidence of national identity before registering citizens for the Ghana Card.
But Mr Dery said, the NIA is violating Article 42 of the 1992 constitution of Ghana, stating that, ” the voter ID card is more credible than that of the passport and birth certificate.”
Article 42 of the 1992 constitution states, “Every citizen of Ghana of eighteen years of age or above and of sound mind has the right to vote and is entitled to be registered as a voter for the purposes of public elections and referenda.”
This, the MP said, the NIA decision not to accept voters card is bounded by political ill motivation and not by the constitution.
In his view, “if not for ill motive, why will a government that is voted into power with voter ID card turned round to say, that card is illegal and that those who holds that card are non citizens of Ghana.?
Mr Dery contended that, the NIA action is unlawful and accused the NPP for attempting to use the Ghana card to disenfranchise many Ghanaians, in the 2020 elections so they could stay in power and continue with their corruption and the looting of state resources.
” We the Minority will not take part in this exercises until every Ghanaian is allow to register using either the voters ID card, passport or birth certificate. Why, because we have picked information that all what the NPP government is trying to do with this Ghana card system is to use the card as proof of citizen to conduct the 2020 election and we will not allow that,” he added.
He said, the request for only birth certificate and passport as proof of citizenship is not only a complete violation of the constitution, but petty as the NPP are fully aware that not every Ghanaian have passport or birth certificate.
Currently, only 2 million Ghanaians are said to have passports and 7 million have birth certificates, which means that only 7 million are eligible to be registered per the NIA requirement for the exercise.
Prof Ken Attafua, NIA Boss
For that, Mr Dery said , it meant over 22 million people out of the 29 million estimated population of the country are not legible and would be disenfranchised if the NIA continue with only passport and birth certificates as requirement to be registered.
He stated that in his constituency, Lambussie for instance, he doubts if NIA would get 100 people with either birth certificate or passport, stating, ” passport is a traveling document for those wishing to travel or have had chance to travelled abroad.”
“For the birth certificate, not all people in Ghana have birth certificate, even in Accra, people go for the birth certificate only when they need it for official document and some for school and in my village, I can bet the NIA, they will not get 200 people with birth certificates. This therefore means that, millions of people will be denied the opportunity to obtain the Ghana card, ” he noted.
He further blasted the government and said, the unlawful decision would rather open the flood gate for some unscrupulous elements in the country to fake birth certificates in order to be able to registered.
He however served notice that, the Minority caucus in Parliament would head to the Supreme Court for an interpretation on the use of the voters’ ID card as proof of nationality and registration for the Ghana card.
Analysing other issues affecting the development of the country, the Lambussie lawmaker also accused the government of stealing funds from the district assemblies.
Per the recent directive by the Administrator of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) the Metropolitans, Municipal and District assemblies (MMDAS ) are expected to make deductions of 80% total for school feeding, planting for food and jobs, and nation builder corp.
It been directed that 40% of the amount should be used to finance the School feeding programme, 20% to finance the Nation Builder’s Corps, and another 20% for the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative, while leaving only 20% for the exclusive use for the Assembly’s own projects at the local level.
But Mr Dery again said, the decision amount to “stealing” portion of Common Fund meant for development at the local government level to finance excessive campaign promises made during the 2016 elections at the expense of the people.
In March this year, Parliament approved the formula for the disbursement of the Common Fund for the year 2018, where a total amount of GHC 1,812,144,435 was appropriated for disbursement over 19 line items. Out of this figure, an amount of GHC 905,999,982, making up 50.25% was supposed to be directly allocated to the various MMDAs.
Per the calculations, each of the 254 MMDAs in Ghana is supposed to receive an average amount of GHC 3,566,929 for their planned local development projects and programmes as approved for them in the formula for the year 2018.
Again, Mr Dery who is the Deputy Chairman of Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC) pointed that, the said directive was illegal per the application of the DACF since it is not contained in the approved formula.
He added that, the directive is simply to deprive the MMDAs of funds to implement their localized development projects which they had already planned for and incorporated in their budgets.
He also chided the Akufo-Addo-led government for its continual deceit to Ghanaians by always making unfeasible promises and its inconsistency with timelines on the disbursement of the one million per constituency per year.
The Minister for Special Initiative Development, Madam Hawa Koomson in answering a question on the floor of parliament said, the allocation of the cedi equivalent of US$1million is GHS4.39 million annually to each of the 275 constituencies to finance basic infrastructure priority projects.
But the Minority MP said, if the answer by the Minister should be taken as actual figurers, then it fall short of over GHS 202 million, unaccounted and that could simply meant that such monies have been squandered.
He described the Minister answers to parliament last Tuesday as incompetent, adding that for getting to two years in office, the one million dollars per constituency promised to Ghanaians during the electioneering period could not be fulfilled.
Source: the republic news online.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba