The Speaker of Parliament, Mike Oquaye has declined to admit a motion filed by Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga requesting the House to reject the Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) brought by the Electoral Commission (EC).
The CI seeks to legalise plans for the EC to register new voters based on a new set of rules for the compilation of a new register for the December polls. The new C.I. if passed, will remove the voter’s ID card as a registration document for a new voter ID card but allow for the use of the Ghana Card.
The MP had looked forward to the opportunity to move the motion on the floor for MPs to vote for or against it, but as Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo reports, the Speaker refused it.
Prof Oquaye in a memo to Mr. Ayariga said the C.I. has already been referred to the subsidiary legislation committee and urged him to go make his arguments against it there instead of being given a separate opportunity on the floor.
“The Speaker sent me a memo in effect declining to admit the motion, urging that I should go before the Subsidiary Legislation Committee and present my arguments to them so that they will capture it in their report.
“The report will be debated in the chamber on the floor and at that point, I will also have an opportunity to argue my case, once my arguments are captured in the report,” the Bawku MP told Joseph.
Although unhappy with the development, he has since appeared before the Committee to make his case.
“I would love an opportunity to make my case, a motion would have served me better but appearing before the Committee, making the argument, having them recorded and presented in the report would also give me an opportunity to still make my case in Parliament,” he said.
Mr Ayariga insists that the birth certificate and old voter’s ID card should be included as admissible documents.
Citing Article 42 of the Constitution, the Bawku MP says any citizen – per that provision – of 18 years of age or more and of sound mind is entitled to be registered and any C.I should focus on establishing the mechanism for proven citizenship, age and soundness of mind.
“That is what a C.I. should be concerned about,” he stressed.
For Mr Ayariga, the main way to establish citizenship is by the Citizenship Act which states in Section 3 that “persons Born before 6/3/57 (1) A person born before 6th March 1957 is a citizen of Ghana by birth if— (a) he was born in Ghana and at least one of his parents or grandparents was born in Ghana; or (b) he was born outside Ghana and one of his parents was born in Ghana” are citizens of Ghana.
“And the only agency that certifies your birth in Ghana is the Births and Deaths Registry. So if you do not accept my birth certificate, how do you establish that I was born in Ghana to a certain parent who is either born in Ghana as stipulated by the Citizenship Act?
“On the basis of that, this is a fundamental error by the EC and so we must have the CI include the birth certificate otherwise we will be violating the Constitution,” he added.