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ROPAA at last

botchway January 24, 2019

 

One of the biblical observations highly respected by Christians can be found in Ecclesiastics Chapter 3, Verses 1 to 8, which summarily indicates that there is time for everything in this world.

The decision by the Electoral Commission of Ghana to implement the controversial Representation of the People’s Amendment Act (ROPAA) gives meat to the above observation.

It is 12 solid years now since ROPAA became law, having been extracted from a Bill – The Representative of the People’s Amendment Bill (ROPAB), which was introduced in Parliament in 2006.

The ROPAB was intended to amend the representation of the People’s Law of 1992 PNDC Law 254. This was because the PNDC Law 254 did not give any chance to Ghanaians abroad to vote in elections in Ghana.

Provisions in the law only covered Ghanaian citizens working in the country’s diplomatic missions, Ghanaian students enjoying government scholarship, as well as Ghana citizens employed by international organisations of which Ghana is a member.  These beneficiaries of the PNDC Law 254 were to be registered in the countries where they lived.

To correct this injustice against the large number of Ghanaians residing abroad, the ROPAA Act 699 was passed to include them.

However, this very useful commodity has been allowed to gather dust on the shelves for all these years till now, when the Electoral Commission has decided to implement it on the orders of the Attorney-General.

The Chronicle, and perhaps others, is happy at the fact that, at long last, Ghanaian citizens residing abroad will be given the chance to register for all elections to be conducted in this country.

The paper is absolutely satisfied with the immediate measures put in place for the implementation of the ROPAA, evidenced in the appointment of the nine-member ROPAA Consultative and Implementation Committee by the Electoral Commission and which was inaugurated on Thursday December 20, 2018.

The beauty of it all is that the Committee comprises a cross section of knowledgeable stakeholders, and this, The Chronicle envisages, is satisfactory work to make the implementation of ROPAA a reality, rather than a desert mirage.

The paper urges Ghanaians, both at home and abroad to exercise restraint and allow the Committee to work and arrive at a conclusion acceptable to all, so that, at the end of the day, nobody  should have cause to raise a red flag against the implementation of the Representation of People’s Amendment Act (ROPAA).

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