C.I. for ROPAA yet to be considered – Hon Rockson

The proposal for the Electoral Commission (EC) to enable Ghanaians abroad to participate in elections, via the Representation of the People Amendment Act (ROPAA), is still with the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament.

According to a member of the committee and MP for South Dayi, Rockson Dafeamekpor, the Constitutional Instrument with reference to that provision has not been laid in the House yet.

He noted that there are some suggestions that the EC may be unable to meet the timelines in the C.I.

“That [the C.I.] was brought for purposes of pre-laying so it is still before the committee. We have not convened on that matter because the signals from EC perhaps indicate that they may not have the time to pursue it.”

“That C.I. speaks of about 64 countries where the ROPAA will be implemented and then the consular offices and our high commissions as registration centres and the appointment of ambassadors as registration officers,” Mr. Dafeamekpor explained further.

The C.I. is currently in abeyance before the committee.

Parliament passed the Representation of the People’s Amendment Act in 2007 but it has not been operationalized since then.

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.

The concerns over ROPAA were heightened this year because a number of Ghanaians were stranded abroad because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Some stranded Ghanaians in South Africa, for example, voiced these concerns to Citi News.

The voter registration exercise was concluded with a mop-up exercise over the weekend.

The voter registration exercise itself started on June 30 and run to August 6, 2020.

The EC was petitioned to extend the voter registration to eligible Ghanaians outside the country by a group called aRTICLE 42.

The petitioners insist that the compilation of a new register without Ghanaians living or staying outside Ghana “will amount to a violation of our constitutional right to vote and our legal entitlement to be registered as voters for public elections and referenda purposes under Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.”