Governance think tank, Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) has asked the Electoral Commission (EC) to take the lead in the “collective effort” to amend the law allowing the use of National Health Insurance Scheme cards for voter registration.
Deputy Coordinator of CDD, Dr. Franklin Oduro, believes the EC’s decision to allow health insurance cards for voter registration can lead to a lack of confidence in the commission by some political parties, a situation he said is bad for the country’s democracy.
“The Electoral Commission is beginning to face court litigation again, just as we witnessed prior to 2012…it is not a good story. We shouldn’t be taking our electoral commission to court all the time”, he said.
CDD’s call comes in the wake of plans by the EC to allow prospective voters to use NHIS cards as a form of identification during the limited voter registration exercise which will run from July 25 to August 3 — despite a suit at the Supreme Court challenging the move.
The suit was filed by the People’s National Convention (PNC) General Secretary, Abu Ramadan, in which he is seeking an injunction to restrain the EC from going ahead with the exercise.
The matter is scheduled to be heard on Monday July 21, 2014.
“When did we realize that there was no need for or it wasn’t important for us to use the NHIS cards as part of [voter registration]?”, asked CDD’s Dr Oduro, indicating the EC is not the only body that has failed at addressing the loopholes in CI 71, the law that gives EC the mandate to use NHIS for voter registration.
He said the political parties and Parliament should also take the blame. According to him Parliament must also take the blame since it approved the law.
“The failure is a collective failure, and if we need to rectify it, we need a collective effort to rectify it”, said Dr Franklin Oduro.
The use of NHIS for voter registration has been widely condemned by political analysts because, it poses the risk of allowing multiple registrations and could pave the way for registration of non-Ghanaians or minors.
Lawyers of the PNC General Secretary, who are challenging the move, for instance, have described plans by the EC to register voters with NHIS cards as “unconstitutional, void and of no effect”.
NHIS cards are identification cards issued to persons, young and old, who have subscribed to the scheme.
There have been reports, especially in the country’s border towns, of non-Ghanaians acquiring the cards with the help of Ghanaians to access health facilities in Ghana.