An Open Letter to Ghana’s Electoral Commissioner-
March 5, 2015 New York City
Dear Dr. Afari Gyan:
I am sorry that your impending retirement from the pinnacle of Ghana’s Electoral Commission has being marred by the February 27, 2015 ruling by the country’s Supreme Court that your decision to hold the District Assembly elections on March 3, 2015 is unconstitutional and you must redo the process. How February reminds me of another important event that has your name written into it but has escaped your attention for nine years.
Sir, I remind you of the Representation of the People’s Amendment Act (ROPAA) that was passed by Ghana’s parliament and assented by President Kufuor on February 24, 2006. In a few words, Act 699 allows the millions of Ghanaians Living Abroad (GLAs) to register to vote in Ghana’s general elections. It left its implementation to you, pending your introduction of a constitutional instrument (CI) to parliament. There have been two general elections in 2008 and 2012. A third one is on the horizon in 2016. The numbers of GLAs are increasing. They are probably larger than at least six electoral regions in Ghana. Has the CI been introduced to parliament yet? Can you do this one act before you say: “You no longer have Afari Gyan to kick around?”
In 2007 in London, asked when ROPAA would be implemented, then President Kufuor replied that the only thing holding it back was the introduction of biometric cards. That has been done, at least in Ghana, and no ROPAA. President Mills unfortunately missed the question but we made sure to ask President Mahama in September 2014 in the U.S.A. He acknowledged that ROPAA has been passed as law and its implementation is in the hands of the Electoral Commissioner. We are back to you. Did I hear you say once that the problem was money? Well President Mahama did say in Worcester, Massachusetts, U.S.A that Ghana Government will find the money for ROPAA’s implementation. He added that the remittances that serve as a support base for Ghana are way too important to ignore. What else is left as an excuse? Ah the fears of NPP and NDC that each will lose to the other because of ROPAA? I have not seen the science of that argument but we are beyond fears and up to the implementation of rights and laws. Nation should be ahead of party.
I hate to rub it in but Mr. Benjamin Eyipeh Mensah has reminded us that Ghana’s Supreme Court sides with right. Do we really have to go through that, or would you simply do your last grand dance to reclaim your name? Please don’t be haunted by CIs. Do it. The clock is ticking.
Dr. Kofi A. Boateng
A/k/a KOFI ROPAA
PS: If circumstances pull you away from the assignment, please make sure to include this letter in your handover notes. You are welcome to become a GLA and lose your vote when you choose to live in London or Zimbabwe after your retirement. Don’t forget to send money home…lots of it, while you deprive yourself. It is needed to pay school fees, build houses, pay for medicine, start businesses, pay for funerals, pay for food, and oh- support the political aspirants when they come knocking for money in London and Zimbabwe.