Prime News Ghana

EC gets 12 months extension from Court to implement ROPAA

By Mutala Yakubu
EC Chair Jean Mensa
EC Chair Jean Mensa

The Electoral Commission (EC) has been given a 12-month extension by the High court to implement the Representation of the People Amendment Act (ROPAA).


The Representation of the People Amendment Act (ROPAA) is the law that permits Ghanaians living abroad to vote in national elections.

The court presided over by Justice Nicholas Abodakpi, granted an application for extension of time filed by the EC but awarded cost of GH¢8,000 against them.

The court said despite evidence that shows that the EC failed in the past to prioritise implementation of the law, there appeared to be renewed commitment on the part of the new commissioners.

Background

The EC pleaded for more time to operationalise the Representation of the People Amendment Act (ROPAA), 2006 (Act 699), which gives Ghanaians in the Diaspora the right to vote from abroad.
The EC wanted the court to extend the deadline, which ended on December 18, 2018, to January 2020.

On December 18, 2017, the Human Rights Division of the Accra High Court ordered the EC to operationalise ROPAA within 12 months by laying before Parliament a Constitutional Instrument (CI) that will set out the modalities for the implementation of the law.

In the event that the EC has any justifiable reason and is “unable to comply with the order”, the court ordered the commission to publish the justifiable reason(s) 30 days before the expiration of the deadline and also appear before the court to explain the reason(s).

The landmark followed a suit by five Ghanaians resident in the United States of America (USA), who accused the EC of “going to sleep” and refusing to implement Act 699, 11 years after it was passed.

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