EC wants 12 more months to implement ROPAA

The Electoral Commission (EC) is seeking 12 more months to implement the Representation of the People Amendment Act (ROPAA).

The commission filed a motion at the High Court pleading for an extension of the deadline, which ended on December 18, 2018.

In documents sighted by Citi News, an applicant in the case expressed displeasure with the EC’s posture contending that “the date of filing the instant application for extension of time itself is a show of contempt as the court gave the applicant and its commissioners until November 30, 2018, to announce its difficulties.”

According to the document, the EC had noted December 2018 Referenda for new regions as reasons for the delays.

But the applicant insisted that “the court must reject any claim that all seven commissioners of [the EC] and hundreds of staff could not and cannot handle two pressing tasks simultaneously.”

“Respondents shall herein contend that said excuses only exposes applicants lack of interest and low priority given the ROPAA since passage of the law of Act 699 in February 2006 and despite the clear orders of the judgment of the court.”

In December 2017, the High Court in Accra, Human Rights Division ordered the Electoral Commission to implement within 12 months, the Representation of the People Amendment Act also known as the ROPAA law, 2006.

Justice Anthony Yeboah said the EC had for the last 10 years breached the rights of Ghanaians living abroad by failing to give them an opportunity to vote.

The EC despite its counter-argument commenced processes after the court ruling to have the Act implemented.

The EC inaugurated a nine-member committee to lead stakeholder consultations towards the subsequent implementation of the ROPAA.

The committee has been charged to conduct research on countries that are implementing ROPAA, and to ascertain how this is being implemented in those countries.

The decision to constitute a committee to oversee the implementation of the Act was reached in October 2018 at an IPAC meeting attended by representatives of all the registered political parties in the country, some donor agencies and civil society.

The committee is made up of representatives of the registered Political Parties and Civil Society Organizations.