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Opinions of Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Columnist: Wumbei Napari

Mr. Vice President, it is not the same everywhere

It is interesting to listen to Ghanaian political figures like the vice president of the republic, His Excellency Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia sometimes. Life in Ghana in the eyes of our politicians seemed the same everywhere; however, ordinary Ghanaians do not see same in Ghana. It is based on this background that the leaders should do more and acquaint themselves with the disparity of lives in the country.

Dr. vice President, you have said on many occasions that the digital address will be a requirement for acquiring the national identification card. See “Your digital address will be required for National ID..>business..2018-03-27....Vice president Mahamudu Bawumia. His Excellency Mr. vice president, after reading your statement, my head was boiling with many questions which I think you have answers to, before your pronouncement regarding the digital address and the imminent Ghana card.

The first unanswered question regarding the card and the digital address that need to be answered is which people are supposed to register the Ghana card using the digital address, is it all Ghanaians or section of Ghanaians? If the answer is the first one, then I must say that a huge number of our population will be left out in this important national activity. However, if it is the later, then many Ghanaians, but not all will be able to register for the identification card.

Dr. vice president, there is a saying in our language (Dagbani) that “those who are riding horses do not think that there is heat on the ground” literally it means that people who are not involved in a particular difficulties never think that there are others who are suffering from it. The truth is that all the policy initiatives the government is rolling are much desired however, you should put yourself sometimes in the shoes of the many ordinary Ghanaians who live in remote areas and cannot or do not have access to network for making a phone call. The network you have at your bungalow is not the same at all places in Ghana.

His Excellency the vice president, so if all Ghanaians are supposed to register for the card, which I believe they are, what measures did you put in place to get the digital address for those who could not get good network for a common phone call not to talk of getting their house address to also get enrolled into the national identification system? If you have not, then I am pleading to you to start the process to get these people their addresses before the commencement of the national identification system or you drop the idea of the digital address as requirement for the national identification registration process.

As somebody who ever lived in cities and also stayed in remote areas, I have witnessed the disparity of life between the two. The truth is of the issue is that the digital address system is working perfectly, but only in areas with a strong network connection. I have downloaded the App and tested it both in our cities and villages and must say that it can never be a requirement for the registration of the national identification card if indeed the purpose is to enroll all Ghanaians.

Another major challenge that will be a setback for this novel idea to digitized Ghana is the poor network of smart-phones in our villages, towns and cities. We all know it is only smart-phone that can download Apps and these smart-phones become useless immediately one step his/her foot in the villages with them. His excellence, the vice president, have you not ever travelled to the villages and experienced “No Service” in your phone? If yes, then you should know that the people in that village too are Ghanaians who will be denied the opportunity to enroll into the national identification system because they cannot access their digital addresses.

Finally, for most of your good policies to succeed, you should know the disparity of the Ghanaian society in order not to bring unexpected challenges in the course of your policy implementations. You should get down from your horses once a while to have a feel of what the ordinary citizens are experiencing on the ground. May Allah Bless You, Dr. Bawumia and President Nana Addo with good vision to move Ghana beyond aid!