Politics of Saturday, 6 May 2017
The Chairman of the People’s National Convention, Bernard Mornah, has voiced his party’s opposition to the implementation of the Representation of the People’s Amendment Law (ROPAL).
The law when implemented will make it possible for Ghanaians living abroad to cast their votes in every national election.
Since the passage of the law under the John Kufuor administration, it has remained dormant on the country’s statute books but President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in his recent interaction with the Ghanaian community in Lome, Togo, revealed that government would sit down with the Electoral Commission to consider ways to fully implement that law.
But reacting to the president’s comment in an interview with Emefa Apawu on 505 on Class91.3FM on Friday 5 May, Mr Mornah said the law comes with attendant problems and would, therefore, be difficult to implement.
“Let me wish the president well in his quest to implement a law that has been standing in our books for nearly about 10 years now and I wish him truly very well, except to say that my position on ROPAL hasn’t changed despite that I was part of the team that did the electoral reform and suggested ways it should be implemented. I have maintained that the implementation of ROPAL will come with its attendant difficulties and that this law we will not be able to implement,” he stated.
“If you take the Political Parties’ Law, it is obvious that party agents and representatives must be at the polling stations to be able to supervise the election. If you create polling stations in external countries, are we going to have our agents there?
“The problems that we are having in our country as to efficacy means that you have to take the biometric machines and go to whichever country and go and register them so that we can have the serial numbers and everything captured. You also have to take the biometric verifying machines to the countries during the voting. The question I ask is: ‘Where and which country are you going to create a polling station?’ Take the United States of America, for example. Are you going to create it in Washington, Los Angeles, or Las Vegas? Where in the United States are you going to place the ballot box and if you place the ballot box in one section given that it must be proximate to the voter, how proximate will that be? Because somebody from one end of the United States going to another end will be like somebody from United States almost coming to Ghana. So there are going to be practical difficulties in the wake of implementing this. So I don’t know why the president at this particular time wants to bring back this debate.”
Mr Mornah suggested that any Ghanaian in any part of the world interested in voting should buy a ticket and return to the country to vote.