A Deputy Chairperson of the Electoral Commission has observed that failure by the Electoral Commission (EC) to implement the Representation of the Peoples Amendment Act (ROPAA) will be in contempt of court and a violation of the fundamental human rights of Ghanaians in the Diaspora.
He explained that the human rights of Ghanaians in the Diaspora to vote had been guaranteed by the 1992 Constitution and made effective by ROPAA.
Dr Asare was speaking in an interview in Cape Coast, on the sidelines of the Central Regional consultative engagement on the implementation of ROPAA.
“The implementation of ROPAA has become mandatory following years of agitations and legal battles amidst arguments by the EC there are no resources to implement it, until the Human Rights Division of the Accra High Court in December 2017 gave the EC a one year ultimatum for its implementation.
“Ghanaians in the Diaspora play a key role in national development and all eligible voters regardless of one’s geographical location must be on board.
“The commission’s resolve to collaborate with all interest groups and accommodate all dissenting opinions in order not to rush the process because the right to vote and voting is a fundamental human right and all eligible voters must be given the opportunity to exercise their franchise.
“The EC has tasked all interest groups and individuals to desist from sitting on the fringes as it engages various stakeholders across the country to solicit their input into the implementation,” Dr Asare stressed.
EC after the deadline had pleaded with the court to give it more time to enable it to do more consultations because it will require the collective efforts of all shareholders to facilitate its successful implementation.
Among some of the issues being deliberated was whether the decision to demand a valid Ghanaian passport, a valid resident permit and a proof of dual citizenship from prospective voters abroad must be maintained.
Ghana bagged $2.2 billion from remittances in 2017, from a total of $38.4 billion that Sub-Saharan Africa recorded, according to the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief.
Currently, a nine member committee that had drawn a roadmap for the implementation of the ROPAA, 2006 (Act 699), which gives Ghanaians in the Diaspora the right to vote from abroad, were touring the country to solicit views from interested groups and stakeholders to ensure best practices were adopted in ROPAA’s implementation. –GNA