Dr Bossman Asare, a Deputy Commissioner of the Electoral Commission (EC), has stated that the Electoral Commission (EC) will not defy a court decision ordering it to operationalise the Representation of People Amendment Act (ROPAA) to allow Ghanaians resident abroad vote in national elections.
He explained that “the court ordered the EC to prepare a Constitutional Instrument (C.I) and lay it before Parliament within 12 months to operationalise ROPAA to franchise Ghanaians resident abroad to partake in national polls.
“We are complying with the order, our mission is to seek your opinion and advice on how best to implement ROPAA, hence the need for broader stakeholder consultations that will result in the best and effective implementation of ROPAA,” Dr Asare noted.
An Accra High Court presided by Justice Anthony Yeboah in 2017 had ruled in favour of some five Ghanaians in the Diaspora who sued the commission to compel it [EC] to implement ROPAA in order to vote in national elections.
Addressing ROPAA consultative meeting in Wa, he indicated that the EC could not act within the 12 months ultimatum given by the court because it was faced with the Lower Manya Krobo District election, referendum on creation of the six new regions, and other official duties.
Dr Asare said the commission applied for extension and another 12 months was granted to enable the EC lay a Legislative Instrument before Parliament for the implementation of ROPAA.
Dr Benjamin Kumbour, a member of ROPAA Consultative Committee, urged participants to give concrete suggestions that would lead to effective implementation of the Act and implored them to stop protracted arguments and condemnations against one another which would retard progress of discussions, effective and efficient implementation of ROPAA.
He said the 2017 high court ruling did not only franchise the five Ghanaians who sued the EC but extended the voting right to all other Ghanaians living in the Diaspora no matter their geographical location.
Abdul Shaqur Saeed, a participant, disagreed and suggested that the EC go back to court and make an appeal to reverse the ruling saying that “allowing Ghanaians outside to vote will cost the country a lot of money that could have been channeled into improving other sectors of the economy, if the EC will start piloting of ROPAA, it should start with neighbouring African countries before extending to European countries.”