Ghana’s Ambassador to Senegal has called on the Electoral Commission (EC) to ensure that the country’s democratic credentials are strengthened through the implementation of the Representation of the People Amendment Act (ROPAA).
Gloria Poku said Ghana under the fourth republic has built solid democratic structures, which had transformed into a peaceful governance system “we must, therefore, build on these credentials through ROPAA, which gives Ghanaians in the Diaspora the right to vote”.
She gave the advice during an interaction with the EC ROPAA Consultation Committee at Ghana’s High Commission in Dakar, Senegal on Monday.
The EC ROPAA Committee in fulfilment of its mandate is in Dakar, Senegal to engage with strategic institutions in Senegal including the ‘Commission Electorale Nationale Autonome’ (CENA); ‘Ministere de L’Interieur’; the Ghanaian Community and other strategic institutions to solicit their views towards the implementation of the law.
There are over 4,000 Ghanaians leaving in Senegal, mainly in Dakar and the Casamance Region (the area of Senegal south of the Gambia including the Casamance River).
It consists of the Lower Casamance (Basse Casamance, Baixa Casamança—i.e. Ziguinchor Region) and the Upper Casamance.
The eight-member EC ROPAA Committee team is led by Dr Bossman Eric Asare, EC Deputy Chairman, in-charge of Corporate Services; Mr Samuel Tettey, Deputy Chairman in Charge of Operations; and Professor Ransford Gyampo of the University of Ghana.
Others are: John Boadu, General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) representing the ruling party; Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, Director of Elections, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) representing the biggest opposition party; Kofi Akpaloo, Founder and Leader of the Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG), representing the other minority parties without representation in Parliament.
The rest are Mr Christian Owusu-Parry, EC Director of Administration, who doubles as ROPAA Committee Secretary and Mrs Sylvia Annor, EC Head of Protocol and Acting Head of the Public Affairs Department.
However, other Committee Members including the Reverend Dr Ernest Adu Gyamfi of the National Peace Council; Dr Kojo Asante of the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) Ghana; and Mrs Adwoa Abrefa Asuama, who is a EC Commission Member could not attend the Dakar ROPAA Consultation.
Dr Bossman Asare explained that the EC seeks to study best international practices for external voting; capture what could be applicable in Ghana’s democratic space and involve Ghanaians both home and abroad in the whole process towards the implementation of ROPAA.
He said the visit was to learn from the source the Senegalese voting system which started external voting in 1993.
Data available to the GNA in Dakar Senegal indicates that in the period leading up to the 1993 Presidential Elections in Senegal, under pressure from the international community and domestic opponents, the Senegalese Government convened a conference to reform and democratize the electoral processes.
According to the GNA information, three important interrelated factors underlay the desire to include a mechanism for external voting in 1993 and included in all subsequent electoral codes. They are demographic, economic and social.
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