The Electoral Commission (EC) says it is constrained in facilitating the participation of persons outside the borders of the country in the 2020 electoral process.
The Representation of the People’s Amendment Act (ROPAA), when implemented, will give Ghanaian nationals in the diaspora the right to vote.
But according to the EC, a Constitutional Instrument (CI) submitted to Parliament to enable it to include Ghanaians living abroad is yet to mature.
Some Ghanaians abroad, notably members of a group calling itself ‘aRTICLE 42’ have been advocating for the inclusion of all eligible Ghanaians abroad.
But a Deputy Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Bossman Eric Asare maintains there is little the commission can do until the maturation of the constitutional instrument.
“The ROPAA issue has also come to the attention of the Commission. Since this is a matter before the court, I don’t think we are in a better position to comment on it now. But generally, whatever the Commission must do to ensure that ROPAA is implemented at our level, we have done it. The Commission has a role to play. There are other organizations and agencies of state which also have a role to play. We have done what we are supposed to do as a Commission.”
“The court ordered the Commission to get ready a Constitutional Instrument (CI), which will be used to get Ghanaians abroad for registration and voting. The Commission has done that and the CI is in Parliament currently. It is the job of Parliament to hold a hearing on it (pre-lay ceremony) before it is laid. So as far as the Commission is concerned as ROPAA, we are very clean”, Dr. Bossman Asare said.
The ROPAA, Act 2006, ACT 699 was passed to give Ghanaians living abroad the opportunity to vote.
The Bill was introduced in Parliament in 2006 to amend the representation of the People’s Law of 1992 PNDC Law 284.
The PNDC Law 284 did not make provision for Ghanaian citizens other than persons working in Ghana’s diplomatic missions, persons working with international organisations of which Ghana is a member and Ghanaian students on Government scholarship, to be registered in the countries where they reside.
In December 2017, a High Court ordered the Electoral Commission (EC) to implement, within 12 months, the ROPAL.
But the EC pleaded with the court for 12 more months to implement it.
The Commission filed a motion at the High Court pleading for an extension of the deadline, which ended on December 18, 2018.
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