ROPAA implementation takes off … as EC inaugurates nine member c’ttee

Mrs Jean Mensa ,EC boss

Mrs Jean Mensa ,EC boss

The Electoral Commission (EC) has inaugurated a nine-member consultative and implementation committee to oversee the implementation of the Representation of the People Amendment Act, (ROPAA) 2006, Act 669.

The ROPAA which was passed 12 years ago seeks to extend the right of Ghanaians living abroad to participate in voting in public elections and referenda.

Among the members of the committee with representatives from the EC, political parties and civil society are Dr Eric Bossman Asare, Deputy Chairman of the Electoral Commission in charge of Corporate Services who chairs the committee, Ms Adwoa Abrefa Asuama, Commission Member of the EC, Christian Owusu-Parry, Secretary of the Committee, John Boadu, representative of the New Patriotic Party, and Dr Benjamin Kunbuor, representative of the National Democratic Congress.

The rest of the members are Dr Kojo Asante of the Centre for Democratic Development, Professor Ransford Gyampo, University of Ghana and Reverend Dr Ernest Adu Gyamfi of the National Peace Council.

Political parties have three representatives on the committee, comprising one representative of the party in government, one representative of the largest minority party, while the rest of the minority parties are represented by one person, while civil society groups have two representations on the committee.

Among the terms of reference of the committee which is expected to start work in January 2019 and submit their report on May 31, 2019, to enable the EC to develop a Legislative Instrument to be ratified by Parliament, are to do a desk research on countries that are implementing ROPAA and how it was being implemented in those countries, hold stakeholder consultations with a view to seeking the opinions of key stakeholders on the best approach to implementing ROPAA.

It is also to produce a report spelling out the modalities for the implementation of ROPAA, review any previous proposals made on the implementation of ROPAA and make recommendation for its implementation taking into account international best practices and changes in Ghana’s electoral process and study the court ruling on the implementation of ROPAA and make recommendations on implementing the views of the court in the implementation of the law.

Inaugurating the committee in Accra yesterday, the Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Jean Mensa said the decision to implement the ROPAA was to respect the order of the Human Rights Court in Accra for the EC to take steps to implement the ROPAA.

She said the programme was also to implement the ROPAA which seeks to give Ghanaians living outside the territory of Ghana the right to be registered as a voter and to vote where he or she lives in public elections and referenda in the country.

“It has been 12 years since ROPAA became law, but Ghanaians citizens living outside the country are yet to benefit from the opportunities presented by ROPAA,” she said.

Mrs Mensah said efforts by Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan to implement the ROPAA by setting up a committee to implement the ROPAA had not worked, seven years after the setting up of the committee.

The EC Chairperson said the committee would hold stakeholder consultations with civil society organisations, political parties, Peace Council, Christian Council, Pentecostal Council, Muslim Council and traditional authorities and also travel to Mali, South Africa, Britain and USA to understudy how those countries were implementing theirs.

Mrs Mensa entreated the committee members to work with nationalism.

Dr Asare who spoke on behalf of the committee said the assignment given them was an important one and they would work to the best of their ability to produce their report on time.

He said other countries, which were nowhere near Ghana’s democratic credentials, were implementing a semblance of ROPAA.

By Kingsley Asare

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