A former member of parliament for Ablekuma North, Justice Joe Appiah, has said the Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), Prof Ken Attafuah “is a total disaster” who has failed at executing the mandate given to him by President Nana Akufo-Addo, for which, in the ex-legislator’s estimation, he must be fired.
Prof Attafuah is leading the NIA to register Ghanaians for the Ghana card – one of the two breeder documents to be used by the Electoral Commission in registering eligible voters for the voter ID card.
About a week ago, the NIA said it was resuming its registration in the Eastern Region from 18 – 27 June 2020.
At the same time, it announced that its card distribution exercise, which started on Wednesday, 10 June 2020 at 5,635 registration centres across the country, was to end on Thursday, 18 June 2020.
“The exercise will enable approximately 3,934,073 Ghanaians, who could not receive their cards during the mass registration exercise to do so”, the NIA said in a statement.
“The cards are being issued to Ghanaians at the same centres where they registered during the mass registration exercise”, adding: “Nearly 800,000 Ghanaians have received the Ghana card since the exercise began last Wednesday, 10 June 2020”.
The NIA said: “All persons who registered but have not received their Ghana cards are requested to go to the registration centre where they registered to pick up their card”.
“To receive the card, a Ghanaian must present the registration application form, the printout or receipt given at the time of registration, or provide other relevant information to be cross-checked against his/her photograph and personal details contained in a Registration Centre Album.”
By the end of the Thursday exercise, the NIA said more than eleven million Ghanaians will possess the Ghana card.
“Out of that number, a total of 10,295,578 Ghanaians will be aged 18 years and over,” the statement added.
Mr Appiah, however, told Kwabena Prah Jr., host of Accra100.5FM’s morning show, Ghana Yensom, on Friday, 19 June 2020 that “they [NIA] have failed the whole nation and His Excellency the President”, reiterating: “He’s a total disaster”.
According to Mr Appiah, “All he [Prof Attafuah] does is to speak big English”.
“Kennedy Agyapong said he could do it at a cheaper cost, they didn’t give it to him and now look at how we’re all suffering”, Justice Joe Appiah said.
The NIA is a “disgrace of an institution”, he insisted, wondering: “You haven’t been able to do this small job given to you for the past three years. What are you doing with the $1.2 billion given you for that job?”
“All you do is talk plenty; who are you? Have you ever heard Ken Ataffuah campaigning [for the NPP?] What have you [Ken Attafuah] done? Where were you when we were in the trenches working for the party? Would you have been NIA boss were the NPP not in power? He can’t do the job. It should be taken away from him. Who is Ken Attafuah? He is a disaster”, the ex-MP fumed.
NIA, EC conniving with Akufo-Addo to rig 2020 polls – NDC
In mid-May, the National Democratic Congress raised fears that the decision of the Electoral Commission to compile a new register of voters using the passport and Ghana card as proof of eligibility may give undue advantage to the governing New Patriotic Party and President Nana Akufo-Addo and also help the incumbent to rig the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in December 2020.
According to the biggest opposition party, more than 10 million Ghanaians are unable to retrieve their Ghana cards from the NIA several months after they were registered, a situation which the Chairman of the party, Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, said will make it impossible for them to be captured on the new electoral roll.
“The President, seeing defeat staring glaringly at him, is, in conjunction with the Jean Mensa-led EC, and the Ken Attafuah-led NIA, desperately scheming to rig the 2020 elections and hold on to power at all cost”.
“Not even the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in, which require that we pull together for our collective survival as a nation, are enough to deter the actors of this plot from their ungodly act”, Mr Ampofo alleged at a press conference on Thursday, 14 May 2020.
“In essence”, he noted, “you’d realise that at the end of the day, several people will be frustrated, they’ll not get the opportunity. And if you look at the figures, you’d realise that the percentages increase in the NDC strongholds and it is a very worrying sign that it is a deliberate attempt to suppress votes and ensure that as many people as possible are unable to make themselves available”.
Responding to the NDC’s allegations, the NIA asked the party to report the state agency to the police if the party has any evidence to back its election rigging allegations.
At a counter-press conference on Friday, 15 May 2020, Prof Attafuah said it was a “disturbing allegation that the NIA, in concert with the Electoral Commission, embarked on an election-rigging agenda in order to benefit the New Patriotic Party, and most disturbingly, to disenfranchise a significant portion of the Ghanaian populace from their rights to exercise their franchise”.
“I want to assure the good people of this country that the NIA is not involved in any such criminal design or enterprise with the EC, with the government of Ghana or any with any person or entity whatsoever described. There is, in short, no such conspiracy, and, perhaps, any person or institution alleging such a criminal conspiracy has a duty to report same to the police”.
According to him, “The exclusion of the voter ID card, was both legal and legitimate, having been passed by the Parliament of this republic and on sound grounds. Indeed, the amendment of Section 8 of Act 750 to exclude the voter ID card, driver’s licence, baptismal certificate and weighing card as eligible documents for acquiring a Ghana card, was wholly supported by the entire plenary of the parliament of this republic. Indeed, there was not a whimper of opposition or protest from any member of parliament – both government and opposition – when the matter went to the floor of parliament for deliberation. The NIA has not embarked upon anything improper, illegal or illegitimate”.