The National Identification Authority (NIA) has, after clearing all the technical hitches, paved the way for the registration and issuance of the all important Ghana Card necessary for conducting businesses in the country.
But the issuance of the card has also been met with some rancour from a section of the public. From the cost of exercise to documents acceptable for the registration, the issuance of the card has been dogged by controversy.
Perhaps the thorny one is the insistence by the acting Executive Secretary of the NIA, Professor Kenneth Attafuah, that only passports and birth certificates are eligible for the Ghana Card registration per the National Identification Registration Regulation (L.I. 21111), as amended last year.
This, he explained is because the two documents are the only proof of citizenship: implying that the Voters ID card for instance, that has been a major source of identification for many Ghanaian in the conduct of other activities, cannot be used as a requirement for the registration exercise.
He told the Members of Parliament at a briefing in Parliament, on Tuesday, that until the law is amended once more, the passport and the birth certificates are the only documents to be used. As it stands now many Ghanaian who do have these documents would certainly not be eligible to register and acquire the card.
Those who make the voter ID card argument say that the Supreme Court has validated the voter ID card in its landmark ruling before the 2016 election and expressed worry that many Ghanaians may not be able to participate in this all importance national exercise just because they do not possess the new document demanded by law.
Those who support the law are of the view that the passport and birth certificates are the legitimate documents to determine one's nationality and besides, community members can identify one as a citizen and who is not to be registered.
The Minority Leader has opined that the NIA's position that per the law only the passport and the birth certificates are the only documents for proof of citizenship is a violation of Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution which states that "every citizen of Ghana of 18 eighteen years of age or above and of sound mind has right to vote and is entitled to be registered as a voter for the purposes of public elections and referenda."
Based on their position, they have boycotted the registration exercise that is taking place at their doorsteps in the Parliament House and threatened to go on demonstration to press home their demand that the Voter ID card should also be considered as part of the required document from registration.
Clearly, we do not think that the position held by the two schools of thought should lead to an impasse that would disturb the registration exercise. The Ghanaian Times believes that the misunderstanding can be resolved and we urge the Parliamentarians who say that they are masters of their own rules to resolve their differences amicably.
It should not be too much for an amendment to be tabled for consideration of the House to clear this hurdle for the exercise to proceed smoothly for the general good of all Ghanaians.
We are calling on the august House to take urgent steps to resolve the impasse between the NIA and the Minority caucus for the interest of nation so that we are not bogged down by unnecessary politicking over an issue that can easily be resolved through legislative procedure.
We must clear this hurdle and move on in the national interest!