THE GROWING PAINS OF NATIONAL “IDENTITY.”

From what I hear some people say, they prefer an “open season” on Ghanaian nationality. Nothing is ever enough to robustly authenticate nationality. Any attempt to provide a more robust “identifier” is somehow an attempt to “de-nationalise” someone. It happened when we began the National ID Card scheme. It is happening, and has always happened whenever we try to clean up the Voter’s Register.

Why is that the case?

There’s too much backward thinking in this country, mostly by those who should understand why such robust systems are necessary for nation-building and who should be championing same.

No one doubts that there is no failsafe mechanism for authentication since people with malicious intent, (or criminal intent, or even for convenience only) can obtain any identity card for any purpose.

Back in the day, many illegal immigrants have used the acquisition of driving licences and NI (National Insurance) cards as a first step to legitimising their presence in the UK, going on to then get bank accounts and work their way through the system all the way to acquiring passports. Now, with time, many of these loopholes have been closed.

In the USA, there’s been catfights between federal authorities and states over issuance of driving licences “with no questions asked” which invariably provides a route for illegal immigrants to then vote in elections (several states allow people to simply vote using a driving licence).

Many countries have struggled with the best means to achieve this, and groped their way to the more robust systems today that we so admire through similar fits and starts.

Our debates today is certainly NOT about attempts to “de-nationalise” anyone. In whose interest?

Instead of questioning the motives for our efforts we should instead be suspicious of the motivations of the people for whom EVERY ATTEMPT at ensuring that GHANAIANS, ALONE have the right and are able to chose their own leaders by exercising their votes is not acceptable to them. They are the only people who are uncomfortable with preventing unqualified people from voting in our elections, a right reserved only for Ghanaians.

The various mechanisms we have adopted are by no means perfect: they have varying degree of robustness. As a nation, we’re trying to find our way up the nationality authentication chain.

In a “perfect world”, the National ID Card should be the “base document” for authenticating one’s nationality. The National ID scheme, when completed, and even better, when fully integrated with the Births and Deaths Registry (which we are also working on) will be our primary source for authenticating one’s nationality.

Again, but for the fact that it is not fully completed, it is my first choice for getting one’s name on the electoral roll.

We’re certainly not there yet: our energies should presently be spent on helping us get there, not on advocating a “free for all” which helps no one but only the people with an incentive to make sure non-Ghanaians abuse privileges reserved for Ghanaians.

That’s a nation-wrecking mentality.

Shalom, Peace, and Life to You.

47 thoughts on “THE GROWING PAINS OF NATIONAL “IDENTITY.”

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