As Sam Cooke would belt out the melody: “Ain’t that good news?”
The headlines say it all. On behalf of Progressive Alliance Movement and Ghanaians Living Abroad, I can only add a hearty thank you!
We look forward to contributing our thoughts to the work that must be done to compile the requisite Legislative Instrument before the end of the year. We shall hold off popping the champagne until the last lap has been completed and the tape crossed. Hopefully under your leadership we shall get there together for 2020.
Soon Ghana can claim the bragging rights over the largest democracy in the world. India also has a Representation of the People Act (1950) that limits overseas voting to service people in the army and government employees (sounds familiar?). Perhaps inspired by little Ghana’s Act 699 (2006), India’s parliament passed a Representation of the People Act (Amendment) in 2010. Imagine that. There is an Indian ROPAA. They are just now talking about how to implement overseas voting. Let us beat them on this one! India has not even passed legislation to permit dual citizenship. We can take leaps and be proud. The point of emphasis is that there is no fear as we move forward to implement ROPAA. There is nothing that others, bigger, richer, smaller, and poorer countries have not done and still continue to live to solve their daily problems. India may be behind but Senegal, Cape Verde, Namibia, Niger, Liberia, South Sudan, South Africa, and very recently, the Ivory Coast, have not been scared nor scarred by overseas voting by their citizens. Ignore those who for selfish reasons want to hold Ghana hostage with fear, that is never borne out by facts.
Almost all countries, and certainly all African countries focus on presidential elections and referenda. Morocco and Senegal allow overseas parliamentary elections for only the seats allocated to their citizens living abroad. One day Ghana will get to this more advanced and inclusive stage.
Most countries, and all African countries, utilize in-person voting at their missions, embassies, and special places that are properly supervised. Namibia is experimenting with electronic voting. The other avenues for voting are by post (US being the largest and not allowing in-person voting at their embassies), proxy (as Ghana has used for service personnel), or combinations. Of course voting by post has the advantage of being able to be implemented on the widest platform, instantly, and being the least expensive, especially when combined with on-line registration. In-person voting is the most expensive and has the least range but can be justified on the grounds of yielding a modicum of checks and balances. In an initial in-person voting rollout, an argument can be made for control that can be achieved through a pilot and limitation to presidential election.
Once again accept our gratitude.
Dr. Kofi A. Boateng ( a/k/a Kofi ROPAA)
Chairman- Progressive Alliance Movement, NY