The Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, is kicking against what he describes as plans by the Electoral Commission to implement the Representation of the People’s Amendment Law (ROPAL) only in countries with a Ghanaian Embassy/High Commission.
“If the EC is allowed to go ahead with its plans, considering that Ghana has established diplomatic missions in just some 60 countries out of the about 195 UN member countries (less than one-third), a substantial number of Ghanaians abroad will be cruelly disenfranchised. This will obviously be an affront to the recent 2017 High Court decision and, indeed, everything ROPAL stands for,” Mr Ablakwa said in a Facebook post.
Mr Ablakwa noted that all Ghanaians living everywhere must have the same right to vote, thus, the non-negotiable principle, in his opinion, ought to be “everywhere or nowhere” if the EC believes it is ready to implement ROPAL in this year’s election.
ROPAL is a law that seeks to provide an opportunity for Ghanaians living abroad to participate in national elections.
The North Tongu lawmaker posited that: “Since the Akufo-Addo administration appears to support every position of the Jean Mensa-led EC, they must go the full distance with their support. The EC asked for GHS1.7 billion for its activities in 2020, however, the government could only manage to allocate GHS1.2 billion in the 2020 Budget”.
He said the “lack of funds to implement ROPAL in every country where there’s a Ghanaian would not be a plausible and acceptable justification to many Ghanaians when the government is the loudest and most visible supporter of the needless new voters register”.
Mr Ablakwa added: “Let us bear in mind that there is a direct linkage between how ROPAL will be implemented and the nature/scope of a new voters register. Since all eligible Ghanaians living abroad are entitled to vote under ROPAL, a new voters register must necessarily capture all Ghanaians across the world. Are we ready to do that? Let’s think about it.”