Court grants EC extension for ROPAA implementation

An Accra High Court has granted a 12-month extension to the Electoral Commission (EC) to implement the Representation of the People Amendment Act (ROPAA).

It follows the failure of the commission to meet an initial order of the court in 2017 to implement the Act by January 2018.

An Accra high court presided over by Justice Anthony Yeboah in 2017 ruled in favour of five Ghanaians in the Diaspora who sued to compel the EC to implement ROPAA to vote in national elections.

However, Justice Nicholas Abodakpi before giving the extension expressed unhappiness about the commission for not giving reasons for their request.

The EC filed a motion at the High Court pleading for an extension of the deadline, which ended on December 18, 2018.

In documents sighted, an applicant in the case expressed displeasure with the EC’s posture contending that “the date of filing the instant application for extension of time itself is a show of contempt as the court gave the applicant and its commissioners until November 30, 2018, to announce its difficulties”.

According to the document, the EC had noted December 2018 Referenda for new regions as reasons for the delays.

But the applicant insisted that “the court must reject any claim that all seven commissioners of the EC and hundreds of staff could not and cannot handle two pressing tasks simultaneously”.

The Bill was introduced in Parliament in 2006 to amend the Representation of the People’s Law of 1992 PNDC Law 284 which 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.

The Commission filed a motion at the High Court pleading for an extension of the deadline, which was December 18, 2018.

The EC ROPAA Committee is currently engaging representatives of political parties, traditional authorities, religious leaders and the media nationwide has also been tasked to research for countries that are implementing and how those countries are implementing the Act.

Apart from the regional consultative group, the committee will pay a working visit to countries already practising external voting like Mali, South Africa, United States and United Kingdom. -citinewsroom.com

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