No ROPAA, no Election – Diaspora Ghanaians to EC

Ghanaian resident abroad have asked the Electoral Commission (EC) to pass a Constitutional Instrument that will allow for the Implementation of the Representation of the Peoples Amendment Act 699 of 2006 in the 2020 election.

The move, according to them, was necessary to enable them to exercise their constitutional right of voting in the upcoming election.

They have therefore threatened that there would be no election in 2020 if the EC fails to honour their demand.

In a statement jointly signed by Dr. Kwaku Anane Gyinde, Frederick Addo, Kwaku Appiah, James McKeown, Portia Danso and Tanyaw Kwabena Awuah, the diasporan Ghanaians observed that “we need from the EC the immediate release of Constitutional Instruments to implement ROPAA.”

Again, they said in the statement that “we need the Inclusion of Diaspora in ROPAA implementation, and we are requesting the required training for all Diaspora volunteer groups in all countries who are ready to help EC.”

The statement indicated that “the passage of The Representation of Peoples Amendment Act 699 of 2006 by former President Kufuor-led administration in 2006 was received with excitement by all Diasporas following a petition by Ghanaians Living Abroad (GLAs).”

It said “we considered it a big milestone in deepening and concretizing Ghana ’s democracy. We recognize the importance of Diaspora voting as it is geared towards increasing political participation and contributing to the legitimacy and accountability of democratic governments.”

According to the statement, “however, over a decade after the law was passed, the EC is yet to implement it, except to give promises that have never been fulfilled.”

It said “a recent ruling by an Accra High Court headed by Justice Anthony Yeboah directing the Electoral Commission (EC) to implement the law in 2020 following another suit by the Progressive Alliance Movement (PAM) in 2017 as well as a promise by the President to make all resources available to the EC for the implementation of ROPAA after the past government have only given excuses for the delay in implementation and the Electoral Commission was oblivious to its implementation.”

The statement available to DGN Online said “PAM in its dealings with the EC provided a scope upon which ROPAA could be implemented, and such letters and directions have not even been acknowledged, expecting one to believe the office of the EC is on leave. This was after the EC has failed to provide a roadmap as expected by December 2018.”

It observed that “on 3rd January 2019, Diaspora ROPAA Ambassadors and Volunteers, a non-partisan platform dedicated to the implementation of ROPAA submitted a petition signed by over 250 Ghanaians across the globe for inclusion in the ROPAA Consultative and Implementation Committee.”

“The Diaspora ROPAA Ambassadors,” it noted, “and volunteers abroad are ready to assist the Electoral Commission by offering free human resources and logistics for ROPAA implementation in any country abroad.”

“This was after the nine-member committee that has been announced by the EC did not include a single Diaspora. The Electoral Commission is yet to respond to our petition which was submitted in early January. How can an Electoral Commission willing to implement ROPAA exclude representations from the very people the election concern the most?” It quizzed

It said “the leadership, as well as the entire membership of ROPAA Ambassadors in the Diaspora, wishes to express its complete displeasure and disappointment about the laxity, sloppiness, and inertia on the part of the Electoral Commission in implementing ROPAA. Any future opportunity for Ghanaians living abroad to vote in a General election remains unclear though the next election is in less than two years.”