PAM’s Letter to Ghana’s Electoral Commission Made Public
August 7, 2015
To the Commissioners of the Electoral Commission of Ghana
P.O. Box M214, Accra, Ghana
Mailed and hand-delivered to the attention of Chairperson Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei.
E-mailed to: Commissioners Amadu Sulley, Georgina Opoku Amankwa, Pauline Adobea, Ebenezer Aggrey-Fynn, Rebecca Kabuke Adjalo, and SA-Adatu Maida.
Dear Honorable Commissioners of the Electoral Commission of Ghana:
Ref: Implementation of ROPAA- Act 699 for 2016 National Elections
On behalf of the members of the board of the New York based nonprofit organization, Progressive Alliance Movement (PAM) , I write to impress upon the commissioners of the Electoral Commission of Ghana that Act 699, more commonly referred to as the Representation of the People Amendment Act (ROPAA) must be seriously considered for implementation for the coming 2016 general elections. With the assumption of office of the new Honorable Chairperson Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei, PAM believes that all lovers of rights and nationhood should come together to end the long electoral neglect of Ghanaians Living Abroad (GLAs) whose numbers are rapidly increasing just as their economic contributions to their homeland continue to surpass our country’s revenues from oil, gold, bauxite, timber, and even cocoa. It has not been unusual through the years to see Ghana’s ministers parading cities abroad to spur GLAs to work on attracting foreign investment to our country. There are examples of good outcomes from such entreaties – too numerous to list.
PAM does not support any political party in Ghana or elsewhere. It is nonethnic, nonreligious and solely committed to doing what will put the shine on the black star. PAM believes that GLAs constitute a subpopulation that would easily exceed the electoral populations of most regions of Ghana save Ashanti and Greater Accra. Thus GLAs should be embraced and cultivated via voting to keep Ghana first on their minds as they struggle abroad to improve the lots of their families, and by extension that of their country. The arguments for and against ROPAA have been fought over. There is a law called Act 699 that was passed and assented to by the then President on February 24, 2006. It must be implemented via constitutional instrument of the electoral commission. When one considers that South Sudan, Cape Verde, Senegal, South Africa, Namibia, Kenya and at least six additional African countries have been implementing overseas voting for their broad groups of citizens living abroad, then Ghana’s continued refusal to implement a nearly 10-year old law is difficult to justify and defend. No amount of cost will surpass the past, current, and future economic benefits the nation accrues from its GLAs.
We request a response that would indicate the EC’s plans for the implementation of ROPAA. By this we are not referring to the restricted overseas voting under Section 8 of PNDC Law 284 whereby voting is limited to employees of the government and of international organizations. If prisoners in Ghana can vote under Article 42 of the country’s constitution, then by all means so can GLAs. Wouldn’t you agree? PAM has chosen to be persistent in this quest and requests your attention and response by the end of August 2015.
We welcome our new Honorable Chairperson Kesson-Smith Osei who has promised transparency and collaboration. PAM is continuing the work that the Diaspora Vote Committee started in 2005 when it brought two delegations, led by the undersigned to advocate for the passage of ROPAA. The law, which may be viewed by sections with parochial interests as positive or negative, has been passed. Let us implement it for 2016. Ghana can only benefit. Let us all put our one nation, Ghana, first.
Kofi A. Boateng, PhD
Chairman, Progressive Alliance Movement
Kofi.firstname.lastname@example.org (914) 907-0633 PAMGH.ORG
PS: The section of the Commission’s website listing the Statute on Elections includes PNDCL 284 but excludes Act 699. The section on Other Electoral Laws and Act is equally silent on Act 699. Is this a deliberate attempt to ignore a law passed in 2006 by not even mentioning it?
Reader’s Note: As of September 4, 2015 no member of the Electoral Commission of Ghana had responded to this letter.
GLA’s arise! We have to take this up ourselves. As we say in Ghana, no one drinks the medicine for the sick person. Get involved with PAM’s crusade to see to the implementation of ROPAA for the 2016 elections. The recent excitement in Ghana over people from Togo also registering in Ghana, may constitute a surreptitious implementation of ROPAA by a section of the political landscape, but a full implementation of ROPAA it certainly is not. That avowed activity actually speaks to the support for an equitable and full implementation of ROPAA for all qualified GLAs. Visit PAMGH.ORG for more.