The Electoral Commission (EC) has been petitioned to extend the upcoming voter registration to eligible Ghanaians outside the country.
The petition is from a group called “aRTICLE 42” and was filed by its Global Coordinator, Richard Sky.
It was received by the EC today, June 29, a day before the start of the registration exercise.
According to the petition, which was filed on behalf of Ghanaian citizens abroad, they fear that compiling a new register “without full implementation of the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act 2006 (ROPAA), will mean our names will not be on the electoral roll.”
The petitioners insist that the compilation of a new voters’ register without Ghanaians living or staying outside Ghana “will amount to a violation of our constitutional right to vote and our legal entitlement to be registered as voters for public elections and referenda purposes under Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.”
They also said such a move will “discriminate against us only because we are presently outside Ghana.”
The concerned Ghanaians abroad thus urged the Commission “to take all reasonable and lawful steps to ensure that those of us outside Ghana are registered to vote in the upcoming election in December 2020 and beyond.”
The petition came with a warning indicating that without the right response from the Commission, the concerned Ghanaians abroad, “are at liberty to take any lawful remedial action we deem appropriate to safeguard the sanctity of our constitutional and legal rights without recourse to you.”
A significant number of Ghanaians abroad are stranded because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The government is currently engaged in the phased evacuation of some of these Ghanaians.
Aside from these, there are Ghanaians living abroad who are supposed to be catered for by the ROPAA.
The ROPAA Bill was introduced in Parliament in 2006 to amend the Representation of the People’s Law of 1992 PNDC Law 284.
The PNDC Law 284 did not make provision for Ghanaian citizens other than persons working in Ghana’s diplomatic missions, persons working with international organisations of which Ghana is a member and Ghanaian students on Government scholarship, to be registered in the countries where they reside.
Though the ROPAA has since been passed, it is yet to be implemented.
The delay subsequently sparked a number of Court actions against the EC.
On May 8, 2019, an Accra High Court granted a request by the EC for an extension of the deadline to implement the law.
There is currently an eight-member EC ROPAA Committee team led by Dr Bossman Eric Asare, the EC’s Deputy Chairman in-charge of Corporate Services, working to ensure the implementation of the law by the 2020 election.