A Deputy Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr. Bossman Asare has charged Ghanaians abroad to submit critical contributions to the election management body that will enhance the processes toward the implementation of the Representation of the People’s Amendment Act (Act 699).
Speaking at a forum to engage Ghanaians on best practices on the implementation of the law which allows Ghanaians abroad to take part in elections back home, Dr. Asare, who is the Chairman of the ROPAA Committee, asked the participants to make nonpartisan, meaningful and practical contributions that will further advance Ghana’s democracy.
He recounted the numerous regional tours undertaken by the Committee as well as a trip to Senegal concerning the matter.
According to him, the Commission has to prepare a Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) based on the inputs obtained from the extensive consultations currently underway and present it to Parliament by December 2019.
For his part, the Chairman of the Progressive Alliance Movement Inc. USA, Dr. Kofi Boateng, expressed the hope that all qualified Ghanaians would be given the opportunity to exercise their franchise in the not-too-distant future, unlike the past where very few Ghanaians abroad took decisions for everyone.
The issues discussed at the forum ranged from eligibility, siting of polling stations and the 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 reside.
The Consul General of Ghana’s mission in New York, Professor Samuel Kojo Amoako, appealed to Ghanaians abroad to cooperate with the EC to make the implementation of ROPAA successful.
An eight-member team led by Dr. Asare embarked on the trip. The others include Mr. Samuel Tettey, Deputy Chairman Operations; Mr. Christian Owusu-Parry, Secretary to the Committee; Mrs. Sylvia Annoh, Acting Director, Communication of the EC; Dr. Kojo Asante of the Ghana 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).
Meanwhile, Ghanaians in New York, who participated in the forum, have commended the EC for its efforts aimed at broadening consultations to operationalise the Representation of the People’s Amendment Act (Act 699).