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Ghanaians in South Korea eager to vote in 2020 —EC asked to reveal plans

The Chairman of the New Patriotic Party branch in South Korea, Richard Zinleri, has challenged the Electoral Commission to quickly announce its plans for implementation of the law that allows Ghanaians abroad to vote.

With just nine months to the 2020 elections, Mr Zinleri said the Electoral Commission needed to do more than set up a committee to look into the feasibility of implementing the Representation Of the Peoples’ Amendment Law (ROPAL) this year.

The commission’s pace on ROPAL, he said, was too slow as it left those in the diaspora in the dark about their fate.

“Here in Korea, we’ve been waiting for the ROPAL to take effect, and the EC formed a Committee which has been to the United States, UK, Mali, and other countries that implemented ROPAL before. They were to give a report on the way forward on whether Ghanaians in the diaspora can vote in December 2020.

“Those of us in the diaspora are a whole constituency on its own.  We haven’t heard from the EC yet, whether we will vote or we can’t. They should let us know the state in which the situation is. Then we know they are factoring us into their plans,” he said.

In January 2019, the Electoral Commission hinted Ghanaians living abroad could finally vote in the 2020 general elections.

The Commission’s Director of Electoral Services, Dr Serebour Quiacoe, had indicated that the commission had prepared a budget for implementing the law granting Ghanaians in the diaspora the right to vote.

The EC in February 2019 announced the formation of a committee to work out the modalities for implementing the law. It identified three key actions for a successful roll-out.

They are public fora in all regions to solicit inputs into the operationalisation of the law, the extension of the consultations to Ghanaians living in the diaspora and visits to four countries that are currently implementing external voting.

The selected countries are the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom, Mali and South Africa.

ROPAL committee meets to work out modalities

The committee, which is chaired by the Deputy Chairperson of the EC in charge of Administration, Mr Eric Bossman Asare, said it would later announce dates for the fora with various stakeholders in all the regions to solicit inputs from all Ghanaians into the operationalisation of the law, in accordance with a High Court ruling of 2017.

A year later, that fora is yet to be held.

In December 2017, the  Human Rights Division of the Accra High Court gave  the Electoral Commission (EC) a one-year ultimatum to implement  ROPAL, which gives Ghanaians in the Diaspora the right to vote from abroad.

The order, according to the court, was to ensure that Ghanaians outside the country registered and voted in the 2020 elections.

According to the court, the EC must “uphold and ensure the full compliance of the operationalisation of Act 699’’ within the 12-month period by laying before Parliament a Constitutional Instrument (CI) that would set out the modalities for implementing Act 699.

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).

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 signalled support for the implementation.

Over 13 years after ROPAL was passed, the EC under the new leadership of Jean Mensa has signalled a change in direction after the previous chairpersons appeared unwilling, but Mr Zinleri said the EC’s silence on the issue months to the election was not encouraging.

“The  EC for some time now seems to be silent on ROPAL. The time to know our fate is now,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment
  1. Awati says

    Masa, you better prepare to come down and vote if want to. Ghana isn’t ready for that bullshit. Even most of the developed nations don’t practice such a dangerous thing. Rigging mechanism I call it.

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