Politics of Saturday, 20 October 2018
The Chairman of the Progressive Alliance Movement (PAM) has said soon Ghana can become the largest democracy in the world.
Dr Kofi A. Boateng said although India is making democratic strides, Ghana could beat them with the implementation of the Act.
His comments follow an announcement by the Electoral Commission (EC) Chair about setting up a ROPAA working group, which would be made up of representatives of registered political parties and civil society organizations.
The working group, she indicated, would undertake nationwide consultation with other relevant parties and would be tasked with the responsibility of defining the modalities, scope and timelines for the implementation of ROPAA.
On December 18, this year, the Human Rights Court (High Court Division) gave the EC 12 months to implement ROPAA.
Since the passage of the ROPAA bill into law (Act 699) eligible citizens living abroad have the right to register and vote in Ghana’s elections.
The judgement also brings to rest the over 11-year hustle of implementing the ROPAA law since it was enacted in 2006.
Below is the statement by the group.
As Sam Cooke would belt out the melody: “Ain’t that good news?”
The headlines say it all. On behalf of Progressive Alliance Movement and Ghanaians Living Abroad, I can only add a hearty thank you! We look forward to contributing our thoughts to the work that must be done to compile the requisite Legislative Instrument before the end of the year.
We shall hold off popping the champagne until the last lap has been completed and the tape crossed. Hopefully, under your leadership, we shall get there together for 2020. Soon Ghana can claim the bragging rights over the largest democracy in the world. India also has a Representation of the People Act (1950) that limits overseas voting to service people in the army and government employees (sounds familiar?).
Perhaps inspired by little Ghana’s Act 699 (2006), India’s parliament passed a Representation of the People Act (Amendment) in 2010. Imagine that. There is an Indian ROPAA. They are just now talking about how to implement overseas voting. Let us beat them on this one! India has not even passed legislation to permit dual citizenship. We can take leaps and be proud. The point of emphasis is that there is no fear as we move forward to implement ROPAA.
There is nothing that others, bigger, richer, smaller, and poorer countries have not done and still continue to live to solve their daily problems. India may be behind but Senegal, Cape Verde, Namibia, Niger, Liberia, South Sudan, South Africa, and very recently, the Ivory Coast, have not been scared nor scarred by overseas voting by their citizens. Ignore those who for selfish reasons want to hold Ghana hostage with fear, that is never borne out by facts.
Almost all countries, and certainly all African countries focus on presidential elections and referenda. Morocco and Senegal allow overseas parliamentary elections for only the seats allocated to their citizens living abroad. One day Ghana will get to this more advanced and inclusive stage.
Most countries and all African countries utilize in-person voting at their missions, embassies, and special places that are properly supervised. Namibia is experimenting with electronic voting. The other avenues for voting are by post (the U.S. being the largest and not allowing in-person voting at their embassies), proxy (as Ghana has used for service personnel), or combinations.
Of course, voting by post has the advantage of being able to be implemented on the widest platform, instantly, and being the least expensive, especially when combined with online registration. In-person voting is the most expensive and has the least range but can be justified on the grounds of yielding a modicum of checks and balances. In an initial in-person voting rollout, an argument can be made for control that can be achieved through a pilot and limitation to presidential election.
Once again accept our gratitude. We are so thrilled that we shall publish this correspondence in the media.
Dr. Kofi A. Boateng ( aka Kofi ROPAA)
Chairman- Progressive Alliance Movement, NY