A private legal practitioner, Samson Anyenini has cautioned the Electoral Commission (EC) not to use the issue of undocumented Ghanaians resident abroad as an excuse to delay the implementation of the Representation of the People Amendment Act (ROPAA).
“The fate of illegal persons residing abroad cannot be tied to those who live in countries legitimately because if you use unorthodox means, unlawful processes, to find your way abroad, you should not be counted, you will have no right to vote, why are some people thinking about that class of people?
“If you travel abroad undocumented, you live in a country illegally, why should we be interested in entertaining you, for which reason we should not implement a law for those residing in countries lawfully,” he queried.
Mr Anyenini cautioned at a programme organised by the Centre for Social Democracy on the theme, ‘The way forward for the implementation of the Representation of the People Amendment Act’.
The ROPAA, passed 12 years ago by parliament will provide an opportunity for Ghanaians resident abroad to participate in elections, however, the EC has since its passage failed to implement the Act.
Not even a suit and an order by an Accra high court in 2017 for the commission to begin processes of implementation has caused it to act and the presiding judge, Justice Anthony Yeboah, chided the EC for breaching the rights of Ghanaians residing abroad by failing to give them an opportunity to vote.
Mr Anyenini, who represented the applicants, was unhappy with the EC over how it had handled the issue so far and casted doubts on its determination, commitment and dedication in ensuring full implementation of the Act.
“No amount of convincing by the EC will get me to believe that they are committed, dedicated and determined and have gone to sleep from day one, except setting up a committee, if the processes had started as the court had ordered, the EC should have completed the processes by the end of 2018,” Mr Anyenini bemoaned.
Although the EC has set up a committee to see to the implementation of the Act, in February, it filed a motion seeking an extension of time to implement the orders of the court, however, five citizens who have questioned the EC’s failure to implement the law filed an application at the high court citing all seven members of the commission of contempt. –myjoyonline.com