Implementation of ROPAA and matters arising

The Electoral Commission (EC), yesterday took a giant step in the implementation of the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act (ROPAA), aimed at providing  opportunity for Ghanaians living abroad to vote in general elections in Ghana.

The EC in compliance with a court order, set up a committee to oversee the implementation of ROPAA which was passed by Parliament 12 years ago.

An Accra High Court in October last year ordered the EC to within 12 months implement ROPAA to enable Ghanaians living abroad to vote in the 2020 election.

The Presiding judge, Justice Anthony Yeboah, in his ruling slammed the EC for breaching the rights of Ghanaians living abroad by failing to give them the opportunity to vote.

He urged the Commission to the address challenges preventing Ghanaians living abroad from voting and specifically asked the EC to ensure that arrangements were made for Ghanaians in the Diaspora to exercise their franchise in the next general election.

The Ghanaian Times welcomes the steps taken so far by the EC and the Inter Party Advisory Committee in the implementation of ROPAA.

We note however, that the implementation would come with challenges that must be overcome in order that all eligible Ghanaian voters can exercise their civic right in future elections.

Top of the challenges is inadequate resources to implement the law effectively across the world to ensure that every Ghanaian had the opportunity to vote.

Also identification and registration of Ghanaians as well as mobilising and deploying of officials to monitor electoral processes across the world, no doubt would present a major challenge.

We acknowledge though that with determination and commitment on the part of all stakeholders including government, ROPAA can be implemented perhaps in phases because we doubt whether the entire world can be covered at ago.

We have to be honest about the logistical challenges that the implementation of the law would bring and it is important we begin to address them now.

Let us not forget, Ghanaians may be living everywhere in the world and we must not pretend that it would be easy to provide the opportunity for everyone to vote.

While commending the EC for starting the process for Ghanaians living abroad to vote, it is critical for us to start a public discourse on how the process would be implemented without hindrance.

The challenges are enormous and there is the need for national consensus on how to proceed with the view of implementing ROPAA successfully across the world.

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