Participants in a stakeholder’s consultative forum on the implementation of the Representation of the People Amendment Act (ROPAA) 2006, (Act 699), which gives Ghanaians in the diaspora the right to vote have called on the Electoral Commission (EC) to consider using electronic means to register prospective voters.
According to the participants in the forum held in Sunyani, the online or electronic registration of the prospective voters could help to reduce the cost of the registration process instead of visiting the various places to conduct the registration exercise.
The forum was organised by the EC to enable the ROPAA Consultative and Implementation Committee to engage with stakeholders and solicit their views on the implementation of the Act.
The ROPAA, which was passed in 2006 to afford Ghanaians of voting age living abroad the right to take part in voting has, however, not been implemented 13 years after passage of the law.
By the Act, the EC set up a nine-member subcommittee to make recommendations on how best the ROPAA can be implemented.
The implementation committee is made up of representatives of registered political parties and civil society organisations.
They required to hold stakeholder consultations nationwide with the view to seeking the views of key stakeholders on the best approach to implement the ROPAA.
The forum brought together key stakeholders such as traditional authorities, representatives of the Christian Council of Ghana, the Ghana Bar Association, political parties, the Ghana Journalists Association and Persons Living With Disabilities, among others, drawn from the Bono, Bono East and the Ahafo regions.
Other agencies were security agencies, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice and Department of Social Welfare.
The committee took the participants through requirements for registration, registration centres, polling stations and voting centres, appointment of registration and polling station officials and exhibition of the voters register after which the participants were given the chance to seek clarifications, asked questions and contributed to the ensuing discussions on the proposed implementation of the Act.
A leading member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Dr Benjamin Kunbuor, who is a member of the committee, helped in addressing some of the issues raised by the participants.
End of the exercise
The Chairman of the committee, Dr Bossman Asare, who is also a Deputy Chairman of the EC in charge of Corporate Services, disclosed that the committee was expected to end its nationwide engagement with stakeholders next week.
He explained that after the end of the exercise in the country, the committee would proceed to conduct a research in other countries where nationals staying abroad are given the opportunity to vote during elections to ascertain how it is implemented.
According to Dr Asare, the committee was expected to produce a report to the commission, spelling out the modalities for the implementation of the Act at the end of the exercise.
He said the consultation was aimed at ensuring proper implementation of the Act and making it transparent to all political parties and the public.