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Diasporian News of Friday, 22 February 2008

Source: Daily Graphic

You no go vote -EC to Diasporians

The Representation of the People (Amendment) Law (ROPAL) which will enable Ghanaians living-abroad to vote in their respective countries of abode will not apply to this year's general election on December 7.
Ghanaians living outside who intend to vote in the December elections will, therefore, have to come to Ghana to do so.
This is because no arrangements have been made yet to open the voters' register for Ghanaians outside the country to register and cast their votes there.
A source at the Electoral Commission (EC) told the Daily Graphic that although the commission had received some funds to do some preliminary work on the implementation of ROPAL, the team that went on the trip to ascertain the possibility of implementing the law this year had not yet presented a report.
The source confirmed that from May 8 to 17, this year, the voters' register would be re-opened to allow Ghanaians who had turned 18 and those who had not registered before to do so but added that no such register would be opened for Ghanaians outside the country.
The introduction of the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act (ROPAA) and its subsequent passage into law by Parliament sparked a series of street protests mainly from the opposition parties, led by the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the biggest opposition party, and the Committee for Joint Action (CJA).
According to those who opposed it, the system to be adopted could not be monitored because of the lack of logistics and the human resource to monitor the process world-wide.
Many governance experts added their voices by stating that although the idea was not a bad one, the country was not financially ready to undertake such an exercise.
They called for a thorough study of the act before it was passed and (after its passage) implemented.
Highly placed sources within the EC told the Daily Graphic that the~, implementation of ROPAL was not feasible because of the cost.
They also noted that in countries where citizens living outside those countries had been made to vote, the turnout had been nothing to write home about and therefore, it would be an exercise in futility should Ghana go ahead with its implementation.
They argued that many Ghanaians in the Diaspora were of doubtful residential and working status and': might not want to encounter any immigration difficulties by approaching Ghanaian polling centres to cast heir ballot.