The Committee working towards the implementation of the Representation of the People’s Amendment Act (ROPAA) says a majority of Ghanaians engaged so far are concerned about the cost of giving nationals in the diaspora the right to vote.
However, the Chairman of the Committee, Dr. Eric Asare Bossman added: “in principle, people are for the ROPAA.”
He noted to Citi News that “we have some people who said because of the cost and the logistical constraints, it will be very difficult for the Electoral Commission to implement the Act.”
However, Dr. Bossman stated that the cost and other constraints would not stop the committee from doing its work.
“We at the Electoral Commission, we are not so much interested in the cost of the implementation. Per the ruling of the High Court, we are mainly interested in putting together a document which will serve as a roadmap for the implementation of the ROPAA.”
“So the onus lies on the government to come out clearly when the commission finishes on whether they have the money or they don’t have the money,” he added.
The ROPAA, Act 2006, ACT 699 was passed to give Ghanaians living abroad the opportunity to vote.
The Bill was introduced in Parliament in 2006 to amend the representation of the People’s Law of 1992 PNDC Law 284.
The PNDC Law 284 did not make provision for Ghanaian citizens other than persons working in Ghana’s diplomatic missions, persons working with international organisations of which Ghana is a member and Ghanaian students on Government scholarship, to be registered in the countries where they reside.
In December 2017, a High Court ordered the Electoral Commission (EC) to implement, within 12 months, the ROPAL.
But the EC pleaded with the court for 12 more months to implement it.
The Commission filed a motion at the High Court pleading for an extension of the deadline, which ended on December 18, 2018.
The EC ROPAA Committee is currently engaging representatives of political parties, traditional authorities, religious leaders, and the media nationwide.
The committee has also been tasked to research countries that were implementing and how those countries are implementing the Act.
Apart from the regional consultative, the Committee would pay a working visit to countries already practising external voting like Mali, South Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom.
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa & Minna Dablu | citinewsroom.com | Ghana