The Minority in Parliament has described as needless and unfortunate President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s recent remarks against them on issues concerning the national identification (ID) registration process.
According to the Minority, the President’s pronouncements that they (the Minority), are attempting to thwart the implementation of the national ID registration law after they supported the endorsement of the legislation by Parliament, are misplaced.
President Akufo-Addo over the weekend wondered why National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs) who had supported the exclusion of voters ID cards, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cards, among others, as qualification for national ID registration in Parliament would turn round and, with the support of their party leaders, bastardise the implementation of the same law and even issue threats of civil war.
But a statement issued Monday and signed by the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, opined that, even if the President was going to comment on the matter, he would have sought to give a credible explanation to the cost of the $1.22 billion project as well as the need to include the voter’s ID card as a credible document to establish nationality.
“We expected the President to explain to Ghanaians why they are paying in excess of $40 per card when across the world, the average price is $5 per card. This exorbitant and outrageous drain on the public purse is of no concern to the President apparently,” the statement said.
The Minority further urged the President “to show a little level of tolerance for constructive criticism as it is only then that we can truly serve the hopes and aspirations of the Ghanaian people.”
“We urge you to do the right thing. We urge you to put the National interest ahead of partisan considerations. We urge you to think of the twenty-three (23] million Ghanaians you are about to deny citizenship. We urge you Mr. President, to be a President for all Ghanaians and not a selected few,” the statement said.
Below is the full statement
RE: CLAIMS BY PRESIDENT NANA AKUFO-ADDO ON NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION CARDS
The Minority has noted with surprise the sad commentary engaged in by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo over the weekend at the 2018 Ashesi University congregation. The unfortunate comments and needless attacks by the President on the Minority are misplaced. As a Minority, we expected that even if the President was going to comment on the matter, he would have sought to give a credible explanation to the outrageous cost of $1.22 billion that his government is saddling the Ghanaian tax payer with for the Ghana card. We expected the President to explain to Ghanaians why they are paying in excess of $40 per card when across the world, the average price is $5 per card. This exorbitant and outrageous drain on the public purse is of no concern to the President apparently.
Even more astounding is the President’s claim, in his unprovoked attack on the Minority, that there is no more credible basic document requirement for establishing nationality or citizenship than a birth certificate or a passport. May we remind the President that only seven (7) million out of thirty (30) million Ghanaians have the two documents he speaks of. Is the President suggesting that he cares less about the citizenship or nationality of the remaining twenty-three (23) million Ghanaians? May we remind the President that his pronouncements cannot supersede Chapter Three (3) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana which sets out in clear unambiguous terms who a citizen is.
The President must remain minded of the dictates of Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution and how this provision and its related processes including the Supreme Court ruling in Abu Ramadan v EC that led to the use of the Voter’s ID cards in electing not just him as the 5th President of the 4th Republic on the 7th of December 2016 but all 275 Members of Parliament. Mr. President, it is this same Voter’s ID card that was used to elect you. Are you by any means suggesting that your election was illegitimate? The President has a duty of care to the Ghanaian people and the Ghanaian voter to ensure fair and equitable coverage of all eligible citizens in any national exercise in a manner that does not seek to disenfranchise any citizen. Mr. President, your actions contravene the letter and spirit of Articles 35 (2)(3)(5) of the 1992 Constitution and this is deeply regrettable.
The Minority has taken note of the attempt by Mr. President to pitch us as not being patriotic and against a national project. Mr. President, may we remind you that this process commenced under our period in Government at a more prudent cost of $115 million and was more encompassing taking into consideration every Ghanaian citizen properly so called. In your inauguration speech, you called for us to be citizens not spectators, in this vein, we would continue to hold leadership to account on behalf of the Ghanaian public even as we remind you, Mr. President of your unenviable history of boycotting National events not limited to the Senchi National Economic Dialogue, the Investiture of President John Dramani Mahama, the National Day of Prayer but to mention just a few. It is also worth noting that your attempt to brand the Minority as anarchist would not stick as Ghanaians remember who gloated over the violent actions during the Atiwa by-elections and also the now infamous call to violence – “All die be die”.
The Minority would continue to hold your government accountable on behalf of Ghanaians and we urge you to show a little level of tolerance for constructive criticism as it is only then that we can truly serve the hopes and aspirations of the Ghanaian people. We urge you to do the right thing. We urge you to put the National interest ahead of partisan considerations. We urge you to think of the twenty-three (23] million Ghanaians you are about to deny citizenship. We urge you Mr. President, to be a President for all Ghanaians and not a selected few.
Ghana and posterity awaits your action or inaction, Mr. President.[Signed]
HARUNA IDDRISU, MP