At least 50 civil society oganisations (CSOs) have been sensitised on the Representation of the Peoples’ Amendment Act (ROPAA) whilst soliciting their input as strategic stakeholders towards the implementation of the Diaspora electoral law.
Issues bordering on requirements for registration, authentication of resident permit, registration centres, polling stations, appointment of registration and election officials, mode and frequency of registration.
Others are designs of registration forms, challenges at registration, handling registration challenges, petition against decisions of overseas registration review committees and exhibition of the voters’ register.
A technical group will be constituted to draft regulations for external voting which will be passed into a constitutional instrument by Parliament in December 2019, to regulate the registration of voters and the conduct of elections in foreign countries.
Dr Bossman Asare, a Deputy Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC) explained that the implementation of ROPAA required the commission put together regulations, in the form of a constitutional instrument.
“ROPAA gives Ghanaian citizens living outside the country the right to be registered as a voter and to vote where he/she lives, it has been 12 years since it became law, but Ghanaian citizens living outside the country are yet to benefit from opportunities presented by ROPAA,” he posited.
Dr Asare, who is also the Chairman of the Electoral Commission ROPAA Implementation Committee, indicated that at the end of the work of the ROPAA Consultative and Implementation Committee, the obvious challenges that were likely to be encountered in the implementation of ROPAA would be resolved.
He recalled in the past, attempts made by the commission, under the leadership of Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan to find a way of implementing ROPAA acceptable to all stakeholders, by setting up a committee in 2011 to make recommendations for the ROPAA implementation.
“Seven years on, the right to be registered as a voter and to vote in public elections and referenda remains elusive to the Ghanaian living abroad, a lot has changed since the committee set up presented its report, it is necessary in implementing ROPAA stakeholders take into account new developments in electoral process,” Dr Asare observed.
The CSOs in an interaction expressed concern about the ROPAA and urged the government to tread cautiously as any technical challenge could plunge the nation into electoral crisis, in spite of challenges the government should implement it, whilst addressing them progressively