The issues with the Voters Register that some of us fought for years to get corrected (gradually, as it turned out) has nothing to do with the people of the Volta Region or any other region, for that matter.
It is about the integrity of the base document for voting, pure and simple. It is not to question the eligibility of any Ghanaian who is 18 or above and of sound mind, whatever that means. I certainly could not be part of any such unpatriotic move because I hold two passports myself, as a full-blood Ghanaian born in London, UK, more than 50 years ago.
It is to do with how certain unprincipled individuals and groups deliberately do things with registration and voting that diddle with the integrity of the roll, the management of it and the impact on our elections.
The voters register has had three historical concerns. Namely, (1) minors getting on the list (2) one person registering more than once and (3) foreigners on the register.
The best way of dealing with minors on the list, as agreed by all, is to have a national ID card system – since there can be serious disadvantages in life in overstating your age.
The best way to deal with double or multiple registration is with biometrics, which is the case now, with facial recognition being added to fingerprints.
The issue with foreigners are also best addressed with a national ID. That is why getting this NIA right is extremely important for us.
When it comes to foreigners, and the opportunity to exploit the situation by political parties, other groups or individuals, our “artificial” borders which divide families, clans and ethnic groups into different nationals or dual citizens, will always present challenges. It is what it is.
What we can seek to do and must do is to minimise the challenges, without disenfranchising any Ghanaian, whether they have ten other passports or not. Indeed, there are far more foreigners in Greater Accra or Ashanti Region than the Volta Region.
I do not think the people in our border towns genuinely want foreigners to choose their MPs or president for them. No! Nobody has an issue with Ghanaians living and voting anywhere in Ghana. Indeed, there are more Ewes in Greater Accra than Gas; same way there are more Akans in our country than any other group in Ghana.
But, if a border town is on record as being the most populated in the country it is worth looking into it, bearing in mind the issues highlighted above.
If it is a party’s move to inflame ethnocentric sentiments for the purpose of mobilising its support base to register in their numbers then I have just one small advice for them: show your love for country wisely.
Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko