The Electoral Commission has inaugurated a 9-member committee to lead stakeholder consultations towards the subsequent implementation of the Representation of the People Amendment Act (ROPAA).
At a short ceremony in Accra, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Jean Mensa, urged the Committee to finalize its work by May 31, 2019.
Among other things, she charged the committee to hold a nationwide stakeholder forum to solicit the views of key stakeholders in the implementation of the Act.
“This consultative and implementation committee is being formed to continue the process after that was put on hold in 2011. The terms of reference of the committee are as follows;
The committee has been charged to conduct a research on countries that are implementing ROPAA, and to ascertain how this is being implemented in those countries;
They will be required to hold stakeholder consultations nationwide with the view of seeking the views of key stakeholders on the best approach to implement the ROPAA;
The committee will be charged to produce a report spelling out the modalities for the implementation of the ROPAA, Jean Mensa said.
The decision to constitute a committee to oversee the implementation of the Act was reached in October 2018 at an Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) 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.
The law was passed in 2006 to afford Ghanaians of voting age living abroad the right to vote.
It has however not been implemented 16 years after passage.
In December 2017, the High Court in Accra, Human Rights Division, presided over by His Lordship Justice Anthony K. Yeboah, ordered the Electoral Commission to implement within 12 months, the Representation of the People Amendment Act also known as the ROPAA law, 2006 [Act 699].
Justice Anthony Yeboah said the EC had for the last ten years breached the rights of Ghanaians living abroad by failing to give them an opportunity to vote.
He thus condemned the EC’s failure to address challenges preventing Ghanaians living abroad from voting, and specifically asked them to ensure that arrangements are made for such people to vote in the 2020 elections.
The EC despite its counter argument commenced processes after the court ruling to have the Act implemented.
The Electoral Commission hopes to fully implement the Act in the 2020 general elections.