Ghanaians abroad could vote in 2020 polls – EC hints

Source The Ghana Report/ Dave Alamisi

The Electoral Commission has hinted, Ghanaians living abroad could finally vote in the 2020 general elections.

The Commission’s Director of Electoral Services Dr. Serebour Quiacoe told Accra-based Joy FM, it has prepared a budget for the implementation of the law granting Ghanaians in the diaspora the right to vote.

That law, Representation of the People’s (Amendment) Law (ROPAL) was passed in 2006 under the Kufuor administration despite a hue and cry from the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Image result for ropal diaspora myjoyonline
Photo: ROPAL allows Ghanaians abroad to vote without having to travel to Ghana

The Electoral Commission has been pussyfooting on its implementation despite a 2017 High Court order to the Charlotte Osei-led Electoral Commission to implement the law within 12 months.

After two presidents and two heads of the Electoral Commission later, the current NPP government has signaled support for the implementation.

More than 13 years after ROPAL was passed, the EC under the new leadership of Jean Mensa has signaled a change in direction after the previous chairpersons appeared unwilling.

“We have even drafted the Constitutional Instrument that will govern the ROPAA” Dr. Serebour Quaicoe revealed.

Director of Electoral Services at the EC, Dr Serebour Quaicoe
Director of Electoral Services at the EC, Dr Serebour Quaicoe

The EC in October 2019 formed a committee to start consultations home and abroad on ROPAL.

That is not the first such committee, triggering criticisms from a group of diasporians pushing for the implementation of ROPAL that the EC is re-inventing the wheel.

There is a 2011 report that details a ‘comprehensive roadmap’ for ROPAA implementation and another report done by a consultant to the EC that ‘virtually’ recommended a similar roadmap.

The EC Director of Electoral Services said the committee is yet to submit its reports.

“In the meantime, we have submitted our budget,” he said before concluding that “if all these things move on successfully then all things being equal it will be rolled out.”

The Electoral Commission is expected to submit modalities for its 2020 operations to parliament next week.

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