Former Majority leader angry with EC over ROPAL
A former majority leader in Ghana’s Parliament, Felix Owusu Agyapong has accused the Electoral Commission (EC) of failing to implement the Representation of People Amendment Law (ROPAL).
The controversial law was passed in 2005 to enable Ghanaians living abroad to vote in national elections but has not been implemented since the then President Kufuor signed it into law.
But speaking at a forum on electoral accountability organized by the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), the former minister for parliamentary affairs insists the law has not been implemented due to the ineffectiveness of the EC and not because it is a bad law.
“When I led parliament to pass the ROPAL bill, we felt it was needed because let’s face it, even countries who were not at our level of democratic development had passed such laws long time.”
“So after passing the law, we realised the main difficulty...we [left] the electoral commission to decide when to implement it, don’t forget they had never told us it would take such a long time to implement.”
“In fact, ROPAL has failed; it is due to the lack of effectiveness on the side of the electoral commission…And this will be one of the few instances where you cannot really blame Parliament because ROPAL was a good law,” he added.
For his part, the Executive Director of IDEG, Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey stated that with barely 17 months to the 2016 elections, all stakeholders in the governance system must discuss how to build consensus to ensure the nation avoid the pitfalls in previous elections.
Meanwhile, the lead speaker at the forum, Professor Susanna Wing, former chair of the department of political science at Haverford College, USA, stated that though there is a high level of freedom in Ghana, recent afrobarometer reports indicate that Ghanaians are losing trust in government; something she describes as a huge risk to the stability of the State.