Few months ago, the Electoral Commission (EC) came under heavy public criticism over the rationale behind the compilation of a new voters register.
Among the many issues raised was the continuous collection of the same type of data from the same people over the years.
Others including political parties and policy think tanks suggested the synchronization of Ghana’s database system to make it a stop shop for every kind of data for whatever purpose or use.
Be that as it may, the EC had its way and had many Ghanaians queuing to gather the same information it had sitting in its system, the same data it could easily get from other agencies mandated to do so.
For instance agencies like the National Health, Insurance Authority, (NHIA), Passport Office, The Social Security and National Insurance Trust, (SSNIT), Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) among others to a very large extent gather the same bio data EC can get from the National Identification Authority (NIA) having been able to successfully register and issue Ghana Cards to a total of 7,091,769 eligible Ghanaians.
It is for this reason that THE NEW PUBLISHER views the call by the Attorney General for the EC to consider the usage of data from the National Identity Register owned by the NIA for future voters register as most appropriate.
In the view of Gloria A. Akuffo that would not only save the country some money but also promote national unity.
The Minister of Justice stated that as at September 8, this year, over 15 million people had been registered by the NIA and 13 million cards issued with mob up exercises ongoing apart from efforts at opening NIA offices across the country and hopefully all Ghanaians would soon have the Ghana card.
Therefore, “It may be advisable for the EC to have recourse to NIA database for the compilation of Voters Register and adopt and designate the Ghana Card as identity card to be used in future elections in the country.”
The AG said, the approach would be consistent with the mandate of the EC under Article 42 of the Constitution.
“Moreover the Constitution does not restrict the EC as to, which document to be used in compiling or generating the register of voters provided the document guaranteed that only Ghanaians of 18 years and above and of sound mind are registered to vote in consonance with Article 42.
“No legal impediment prevent the EC from using the National Identity Register to compile the Register of Voters or the National Identity Card for the purpose of public election and referenda,” she said.
For us, it’s a waste of the tax papers hard-earned money to continue using the scanty resources that could have been used for other fruitful ventures to gather the same data we already have.
The paper holds that as a country we should be nearing the stage where one national identity card could be used to perform all sort of transactions irrespective of the source document that gave birth to that card.
The question of whose interest the collection of these multiple bio data serves and what financial benefits they gain in doing so is a topic for another discussion.
Until then it serves our own interest as a nation to stop doing the same thing differently…