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Feature Article of Friday, 7 January 2011

Columnist: Sakyi, Kwesi Atta

The National ID and State Security in Ghana

The Ghana National Identification Card project has been ongoing in fits and starts and heaven only knows when we in this 21st century, will have a national database of all our residents. It is imperative for the government to ensure that all residents of Ghana, both nationals and non-nationals of 16 years and above hold IDs for purposes of knowing who does what. All civilized and serious countries of the world have this basic service in place as a matter of national priority. In Zambia where I live, the country shares borders with eight countries and therefore it is a condition sine qua non for every resident to have an ID. You cannot transact any business in Zambia without your ID, be it registering in a college or university, changing money at a bureau, withdrawing money at the bank or filling any form. Of late, there has been a surge in armed robbery in Ghana. Are we sure we have captured on our database the IDs of all nationals and non-nationals? Are we sure we can efficiently track down criminals? Such a record will also go a long way to ensure transparency in the holding of general elections. I am of the opinion that the National ID project has not been given the attention it deserves and I hope it is not a question of not having enough funds because it is on record that the French Government gave a generous grant for the purpose. I hope in this year 2011, the current NDC Government will complete the exercise and secure our country for us. AS 2012 is an election year, the completion of the ID project is a desideratum to allay fears of vote rigging and other electoral malpractices such as gerrymandering or double voting, identity theft, among others. Parliament should pass a bill to make it mandatory for every citizen of voting age to have a national green card and non-nationals or non-citizens should be issued red cards to differentiate them. This is not a form of discrimination but rather a matter of guaranteeing our sovereignty and national security. The issuing agents should show high levels of patriotism and integrity by eschewing bribery and corruption.

By Kwesi Atta Sakyi

Email: attakas2003@yahoo.com

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