The Ghanaian Community in New York, United States has commended the Electoral Commission for taking steps to further consult stakeholders as part of processes to operationalise the Representation of the People’s Amendment Act (ROPAA).
The implementation of ROPAA requires that the commission puts together regulations, in the form of a Constitutional Instrument (CI), to regulate the registration of voters and the conduct of elections in foreign countries.
At the end, Ghanaian citizens in the diaspora will have the opportunity to exercise their franchise - a solution that will bridge the gap created by the People National Defense Council Law 284 that did not make provision for the diaspora to vote.
At a forum organised as part of efforts to further engage Ghanaians on best practices on the implementation of voting by citizens abroad, the Chairman of the ROPAA Committee, Dr Bossman Asare, recounted that the committee had undertaken regional tours in Ghana and had visited Senegal.
According to him, the commission had to prepare a CI based on the inputs obtained from the extensive consultations currently underway and present it to Parliament by December 2019.
He, therefore, asked participants to make non-partisan, meaningful and practical contributions that would further advance Ghana's efforts at democratic development.
The Chairman of the Progressive Alliance Movement Inc. USA, Dr Kofi Boateng, expressed the hope that all qualified Ghanaians would have the opportunity to exercise their franchise in the not-too-distant future, unlike the past where very few Ghanaians abroad took decisions for all.
Issues discussed at the forum ranged from eligibility, siting of polling stations to credibility of election officials, among others.
On the issue of residency, some of the participants argued that based on the Right to Vote as enshrined in Article 42 of the Constitution, it would be unfair to deny any Ghanaian citizen the right to register and vote irrespective of where they resided.
Prof. Samuel Kojo Amoako, the Consul General of Ghana's Mission in New York, appealed to Ghanaians abroad to cooperate with the EC to make the implementation of ROPAA successful.
An eight-member team led by Dr Bossman Asare included Mr Samuel Tettey, the Deputy Chairman, Operations; Mr Christian Owusu-Parry, Secretary to the committee; Mrs Sylvia Annoh, acting Director Communications of the EC; Dr Kojo Asante of Ghana 's Centre for Democratic Development (CDD); Rev. Dr Ernest Adu-Gyamfi of the National Peace Council and President of the Ghana Baptist Convention; Mr Evans Nimako of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Mr Kofi Akpaloo of the Liberal Democratic Party (LPG).
As part of the tour, the team is expected to visit Woodbridge (Virginia), Worcester (Massachusetts), Washington D.C, Columbus (Ohio) and Silverspring (Maryland).