Judgment on ROPAA today

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A High Court, Human Rights Division will today deliver judgment in the case brought by five citizens over the 11 years delayed implementation of the Representation of the People (ROPAA) (Amendment) Act, 2006 [ACT 699].)

The applicants are Kofi A. Boateng, Nellie Kemevor, Obed Danquah, Christiana Sillim and Agyenim Boateng, all residing in New York State and Kentucky in the USA, and are citizens by birth, dual citizenship, or both.

The Kufuor administration superintended the passage into law in 2006 of Act 699 to allow citizens, including dual nationals, to be registered abroad and to vote from abroad.

The applicants contend that a promise by former EC Chairman Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan in November 2007 of preparations to implement it “in stages” as well as an announcement in July 2007 by then EC’s Ag. Director of Public Affairs, Yorke Aidoo that the EC was to formulate regulations for implementation of the ROPAA after a planned tour of Asia, Europe, the Americas and African countries where Diasporans vote, remained unfulfilled.

The EC set up a committee in 2011 which produced some modalities but has since not acted.

All presidents have promised commitment to ensuring implementation of the law but nothing concrete has been done compelling the applicants to sue through their lawyers A-PARTNERS @ LAW led by Samson Lardy Anyenini.

The Applicants who are all members of the Progressive Alliance Movement (PAM) a New York State incorporated non-profit organization, seek from the Court “a Declaration that Applicants have fundamental human rights under Articles 17(2), 42 and 33(5), of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act 2006 [Act 699] Article 13 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, Article 25 of The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Protocol 1 (article 3) of the European Convention on Human Rights,

a) “to be registered as voter[s]” while resident abroad and being outside the jurisdiction of the Republic of Ghana, and doing so from/at their places of residence abroad or designated centers close to their places of residence abroad or from/at the Ghana Mission/Embassy within their jurisdiction abroad;

b) to be issued voters Identity Cards “to enable” them “to vote in public elections and referenda” while resident abroad and being outside the jurisdiction of the Republic of Ghana at the time of such elections, and doing so from/at their places of residence abroad or designated centers close to their places of residence abroad or from/at the Ghana Mission/Embassy within their jurisdiction abroad;

c) “to vote in public elections and referenda” particularly Presidential and Parliamentary elections while resident abroad and being outside the jurisdiction of the Republic of Ghana at the time of such elections, and doing so from/at their places of residence abroad or designated centers close to their places of residence abroad or from/at the Ghana Mission/Embassy within their jurisdiction abroad;

d) A Declaration that the non-compliance of 1st Respondent in particular to operationalize the Act 699 since same became law on the 24th day of February 2006 is a breach of Applicants’ fundamental rights under said various laws and legal instruments;

e) A Declaration 2nd Respondent’s failure, neglect or refusal to uphold/ensure full compliance/operationalization of the Act 699 since same became law on the 24th day of February 2006 is a breach of Applicants’ fundamental rights under said various laws and legal instruments;

f) A Declaration that each of the Applicant’s “right to vote and entitle[ment] to be registered as a voter for the purposes of public elections and referenda” in light of the Act 699 and said various laws and legal instruments is not subject to any condition precedent aside the article 42 age and sanity of mind criteria;

g) A Declaration that it is discriminatory for Respondents particularly 1st Respondent to continue to register abroad and ensure that a category of citizens studying abroad or working in Ghana’s Missions/Embassies abroad vote in public elections and referenda while abroad to the exclusion of the Applicants.

h) An Order of mandamus directed at Respondents particularly 1st Respondent to forthwith, uphold/ensure full compliance/operationalisation of Act 699.

Source: starrfmonline.com