The Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana has filed at the Human Rights Division of an Accra High Court, begging for an extension of time for twelve calendar months within which to operationalize the Representation of the People’s Amendment Act (ROPAA), 2006 (Act 699).
The one year period, according to the electoral management body will enable it take the necessary steps towards the operationalization of the ROPAA.
“I pray for the extension of time for twelve calendar months ending January 2020 to enable the 1st Respondent/Applicant (EC) herein take the necessary steps as ordered by the court in its judgment”, Chairperson of the EC, Jean Mensa, noted in a motion on notice filed on January 30, 2019, on behalf of the election management body by Justin Amenuvor of Amenuvor and Associates.
On December 18, 2017, Court ordered the EC to implement the Act 699 within 12 months from the date of the judgement after an 11-year delay.
Per the dictates of the law, Ghanaian citizens living abroad can take part in national elections in 2020.
Successive governments over the years failed to implement it, prompting some private citizens: Kofi A. Boateng, Nellie Kemevor, Obed Danquah, Christiana Sillim and Agyenim Boateng, all residing in New York and Kentucky in the USA, and citizens by birth, dual citizenship, or both, to head to the court over the matter through their lawyers A-PARTNERS@LAW led by Samson Lardy Anyenini.
The court presided over by His Lordship Justice Anthony K. Yeboah delivered a judgment on Monday, 18 December 2017 directing the EC to implement the law.
However, the law is yet to be operationalized.
Explaining the rationale over the delay in operationalizing the law in an affidavit, Jean Mensa said the situation had to do with some leadership challenges her predecessor, Charlotte Osei, who was then manning the affairs of the EC, experienced leading to her removal from office as well as some Deputy Commissioners.
The prolonged leadership challenges experienced by Charlotte Osei, according to the Jean Mensa, stalled decision-making at the management level and thus affected the operationalization of Act 699 within the period as ordered by the Court.
Jean Mensa further noted that as a result of the situation, the EC couldn’t constitute a Committee to carry out the orders of the Court.
That aside, the EC couldn’t under her leadership wasn’t able to implement the order of the Court because of its work relating to “National Assignment” for the just ended creation of the six (6) new regions in the country.
She further argued that the electoral management body’s inability to comply with the orders of the Court was not an attempt by the Commission to delay the operationalization of Act 699 or disrespect the orders of the Court but due to circumstances beyond its control.
Nevertheless, she said the EC has since inaugurated an implementation committee chaired by the Deputy Chairperson, Dr. Bossman Asare Eric which Committee is in consultation with the general public and the stakeholders and other countries that are practicing External Voting to take the appropriate steps for its implementation in Ghana.