US-based Ghanaians sue EC over ROPAA

Charlotte Osei, E.C. Chair

Five Ghanaians resident in the United States, have sued the Electoral Commission (EC) at the Supreme Court over the non-implementation of the Representation of the People Amendment Act (ROPAA), Act 699.

They contend that the non-implementation of the law is a breach of their fundamental human rights under the laws of Ghana; particularly Articles 17(2), 42 and 33(5) of the 1992 constitution.

The applicants are thus praying the court to order the Electoral Commission to ensure compliance with Act 699.

The applicants had first filed a similar lawsuit in April 2016 but withdrew the application after the EC filed its affidavit in opposition.

They also withdrew the lawsuit because the EC attached certain documents which indicated a clear road-map for the effective implementation of Act 699.

The basis of their suit is Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution, which states: “Every citizen of Ghana of eighteen years of age or above and of sound mind has the right to vote and is entitled to be registered as a voter for the purposes of public elections and referenda.”

Among the other reliefs being sought, the plaintiffs are seeking “a declaration that each of the applicants’ ‘right to vote and entitlement to be registered as a voter for the purposes of public elections and referenda’ in light of the Act 699 and said various and legal instruments is not subject to any condition precedent aside the article 42 citizenship, age and sanity of mind criteria.”

They also want a declaration that “it is discriminatory for respondents, [particularly the Electoral Commission] 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 living abroad to the exclusion of the applicants.”

Source: CitiFMOnline