The Electoral Commission (EC) has commenced consultation of strategic countries towards the operationalisation of the Representation of the People Amendment Act (ROPAA) 2006 (Act 699), which gives Ghanaians in the Diaspora the right to vote from abroad.
The EC ROPAA Committee in fulfillment of its mandate, will engage the countries’ electoral commission, Ghanaian community in those countries and other strategic institutions to share ideas and solicit their views towards implementation of the law.
An eight-member EC ROPAA committee team led by Dr Bossman Asare, Deputy Chairman of EC, in-charge of Corporate Services, Samuel Tettey, Deputy Chairman of EC, in-charge of Operations and Professor Ransford Gyampo of the University of Ghana.
Others are John Boadu, General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Elvis Afriyie Ankrah of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Kofi Akpalo, founder and leader of the Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG), representing the other minority parties without representation in Parliament, Christian Owusu-Parry, ROPAA Committee Secretary and Sylvia Annor of the EC.
However, the Reverend Dr Ernest Adu Gyamfi of the National Peace Council and Dr Kojo Asante of the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) Ghana could not attend the strategic countries ROPAA consultation.
Dr Asare said the Act had charged the EC with responsibility to make regulations for implementation of the ROPAA saying, “In complying with obligation imposed by Act, commission set up sub-committee to make recommendations on how best ROPAA can be implemented.
“The committee organised regional consultation programmes with local stakeholders and civil society organisations, political parties’ representations, traditional authorities, religious leaders, and the media,” he said.
Jean Mensa, the Chairperson of EC had explained that implementation of ROPAA required commission put together regulations, in form of Constitutional Instrument (CI), to regulate registration of voters and conduct of elections in foreign countries.
She noted that at the end of the work of ROPAA Consultative and Implementation Committee,a technical group would be constituted to draft regulations for external voting, passed by Parliament in December 2019.
“ROPAA gives Ghanaian citizens living outside the country right to be registered as voters and to vote where he/she lives, it has been over 12 years since ROPAA became law, but Ghanaian citizens living outside the country are yet to benefit from opportunities, because of obvious challenges likely to be encountered in implementation,” Mrs Mensa stressed. –GNA