Bossman Asare’s claim that guarantor system is ‘unique to Ghana’ is false

Deputy Commissioner of Ghana’s Electoral Commission, Dr Bossman Asare, said on Upfront on Joy News, on March 1, 2023, that the guarantor system has been a unique feature of Ghana’s electoral process.

Dr Asare said this to make a strong case for the EC’s decision to make the Ghana Card the sole registration document for voting in the country. He asked the host of Upfront, Raymond Acquah, if he knew any country that uses the guarantor system.

This was prior to Parliament’s rejection of the electoral body’s Constitutional Instrument (CI) that sought to make the Ghana card the only election registration document.

Fact-Check Ghana has verified the claim and presents the explanation below.

Claim: “I don’t know if you know of any country where, let’s say in Burkina Faso, in Togo, in Britain, where two British nationalities must vouch for somebody? It doesn’t happen. This has been unique to Ghana.”

Verdict: Completely False

Explanation: Article 21(5) of the 2019 Ethiopian Electoral, Political Parties Registration and Election’s Code of Conduct Proclamation indicates that:

“Undocumented voters can be registered based on the testimonies of three individuals, whose long residence in the Kebele where the polling station has been established has been proven and after this event has been recorded in the minutes.”

In an interview with Fact-Check Ghana, the Public Relations Officer of Niger’s electoral management body Abari Amintchi said Niger has a process similar to Ghana’s guarantor system.

According to Mr Amintchi, what is referred to as the guarantor system in Ghana is known as testimonials in his country.

“Here it means that a head of family or village chief can testify that you are of his entity. So, with this testimony, without civil status documents, you can register on the file. Which entitles you to the card,” he said.

A document released in 2012 by the Carter Centre, a democracy and human rights-focused NGO founded by former US President Jimmy Carter, lists over ten countries in Africa that allow individuals to vouch for others to register to vote at the time. The document is titled Voter Identification Requirements and Public International Law: An Examination of Africa and Latin America.

From the above, Dr Bossman Asare’s claim that the guarantor system is unique to Ghana is false.

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