On Tuesday, February 28 when the Chair of the Electoral Commission (EC) Jean Mensa appeared before Parliament to brief the House on the Constitutional Instrument (CI) that is seeking to make the Ghana Card the sole identification document for voter registration, the Member of Parliament for Tamale Central Murtala Mohammed used the expression “shame”.
This was when Mrs Jean Mensa was being heckled while making her presentation.
Speaker Bagbin who was unhappy with the conduct of the Members of Parliament warned that he was taking note of all those who were making noise and not listening to the presentation.
He said “Honourable Members, fortunately, you are known faces so I am taking note of all of you, honourable Dominic Nitoiwul, please you are a minister.
“Hon Murtala Mohammed, it has long been ruled in this House that the use of the word shame is unparliamentary. Honourbale Members, the guests we have are here in answer to the application by this House. The best we can do is to listen to them, at the end of the day you will be given the opportunity to ask questions. Please Honourable Murtala Mohammed I call on you to withdraw the shame [comment].”
Murtala asked the speaker for direction whether a comment that was not captured in the microphone could go on record for which he was being called upon to withdraw.
“Mr Speaker, if you direct me to do anything I will, but I need clarification, if I don’t speak into the mic it doesn’t become a statement on record so I want your direction.
“If I am withdrawing something that is not recorded then I will do so. We all know that any comment that is not made into the mic is not on record. I am withdrawing that statement even though it was not captured by the mic but as you directed.”
Speaker Bagbin came back again and said “We are in a committee meeting, we are not at the plenary, this is a committee, what we do at a committee meeting is to take minutes.
“You don’t have to use the mic during this meeting, I can listen to anyone here without the mic, even though you did not use the mic I heard you.”
In her presentation, the EC Chair Jean Mensa told Parliament that the use of the Ghana Card as the sole identification document for voter registration will ensure a credible voter roll.
She also said it will also prevent minors and foreigners from getting onto the electoral register to vote.
Madam Jean Mensa said “The use of only Ghana Card will ensure and guarantee the credibility of the register and elections, prevent enrolment of minors, prevent foreigners from voting, eliminate the guarantor system which is prone to abuse.”
“The Ghana Card will not be used for voting in 2024, it will be used to register,” she said.
Regarding a revelation by Tamale South Member of Parliament Haruna Iddrisu that there were about 3.5million people without Ghana Crad, she said the National Identification Authority (NIA) has told the commission that ” there are 3.5 blank cards in the warehouse, money have been released and funds are being released.”
The Minority have been raising issues against the proposed CI.
On Thursday, February 23, they rejected officials from the EC and the National Identification (NIA) who were in Parliament to brief the House on the proposed CI.
They were expecting Madam Jean Mensa herself to appear.
The Member of Parliament or Tamale South Haruna Iddrisu said that the Minority are opposed to any move by the EC to use the Ghana Card as the sole identification document for voter registration.
He says any such move by the EC will hurt the right to vote and be voted for.
Speaking on the Big Issue via telephone on TV3 Monday, February 27, the former Minority Leader indicated that there are 3.5million people who are without Ghana Card.
He questioned whether the EC is going to deny all these 3.5 million people from exercising their right to vote because they do not have a Ghana Card.
“There is the right to vote and be voted for, the NDC will defend that right,” he said.
“We are contesting the use of Ghana Crad as the sole reference for purposes of getting registered as a voter,” he said.
He stressed “the right to vote and be voted for is sacred. 3.5 million people don’t have the card, can you tell these 3.5 million persons not to vote?”