In facilitating and preparing towards the implementation of the Representation of People’s Amendment Act (ROPAA), the ROPAA Implementation Committee on Tuesday held a consultative meeting with stakeholders in Sunyani, regional capital of Bono region.
The nine member consultative and implementation committee was set up by the Electoral Commission (EC) to seek the opinions of key stakeholders through engagement on the best approach and also to recommend how the Act should be implemented, where they will have to roll out a comprehensive regional consultation programme with local stakeholders and civil society organizations.
The meeting was attended by Chiefs, Queen mothers, representatives of NPP, NDC and Mr Kofi Akpaloo, leader of the Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG), who represented the other minority political parties.
Representatives of the security services, civil society organisations, religious leaders, People with Disability (PWD), media practitioners and some members of the general public also took part in the discussions.
The ROPAA law, 2006 (Act 699), seeks to allow qualified Ghanaians residing abroad and who for over ten years have not been given the opportunity by the EC, to be empowered to cast their vote in national elections.
Addressing the meeting a member of the committee and a lecturer at the University of Ghana, Professor Ransford Gyampo, said the committee is only creating guidelines for the smooth implementation of ROPAA and as such there is the need for the general public to trust the effectiveness of the Committee.
He noted that it is important that no Ghanaian is disenfranchised during national elections therefore as a matter of urgency the committee has to solicit for ideas to help in the smooth implementation of ROPAA.
Professor Gyampo stated that apart from the regional consultative meetings, the Committee would pay a working visits to countries already practicing external voting namely Mali, South Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom in order to seek opinions on the best approach to the implementation of ROPAA.
Professor Gyampo said at the end of the committee’s work a technical group would be constituted to draft regulations for external voting, which will be eventually passed into a Constitutional Instrument (CI) by Parliament in addition to regulating the registration of voters and conduct of elections in foreign countries.
BY: ROSEMOND KISSIWAA