Ghanaians abroad can now exercise their franchise following the recent court order on the implementation of the Representation Of Amendment Act (ROPAA) which had been left pending for the past 11 years.
This was in honour of a legal application by US-based Ghanaian citizens – Kofi A. Boateng, Nellie Kemevor, Obed Danquah, Christiana Sillim and Agyenim Boateng who are all members of the Progressive Alliance Movement (PAM) a New York State incorporated nonprofit organization, against the Electoral Commission for their failure to make provisions for Ghanaians living abroad to vote during elections.
The Accra Human Rights High Court on Monday, 18th December during the last hearing of the suit, ordered the EC to quickly put into practice the Representation Of Amendment Act also known as the ROPAA law, 2006 [Act 699], which provides for Ghanaians in diaspora to participate in voting exercise during Ghana elections.
The Presiding Judge, His Lordship Justice Anthony K. Yeboah reprimanded the Electoral Commission for depriving Ghanaians living outside the country of their voting rights over these years that the law had remained dormant.
Despite the EC’s defense and arguments that they are in the process of implementing the law and should not be compelled to do so, the court ruled in favour of the applicants. Describing the EC’s excuses for failing to tackle challenges that have been stopping implementation of the ROPAA law as “unreasonable” and “outrageous”, the Judge ordered the Commission to put in place, within a space of 12 months, all the measures that will allow Ghanaian citizens living abroad to vote in the coming 2020 elections.
The Representation Of Amendment Act [Act 699] of 2006 was passed into law under the John Agyekum Kufuor administration. Per the law, all Ghanaian citizens, including dual nationals, are to be registered abroad and to vote from there during general elections.
Following the passage of the law, then Electoral Commission Chairman, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, in November 2007 promised that the EC will implement the law “in stages”, but that is yet to be done, hence the suit against the Commission which has now been won by the applicants.
So, all things being equal, Ghanaians abroad will no longer be denied of their franchise come 2020!