The Chairman of Ghana's Electoral Commission (EC), Dr. Kwadwo Afari Djan has expressed his indignation about the way politicians and sections of the public have been commenting on the Representation of the People's Amendment Law (ROPAL).
Dr. Afari Djan said he is not happy with the manner in which the new law is being discussed and the numerous calls on the Commission, demanding for its implementation and vice versa.
The Accra Daily Mail newspaper reported that Dr. Djan passionately appealed to Ghanaians, especially politicians to put an end to the raging controversy because, “It is not healthy for anybody to be speculating as to whether it is possible or not possible.”
He said the implementation of ROPAL involves a lot of work. “We have already started doing that work, if we get there and we have done enough to apply it so be it, if come 2008 we have not been able to finish, so be it. If it would not be possible, I will know”, he disclosed.
On the preparatory work underway for ROPAL's implementation in the 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections, Dr. Afari Djan simply said: “I don't want to be part of that kind of speculation.”
Carefully choosing his words, on the question of the things that need to be put in place to ensure its implementation in 2008, he replied: “What's all this question about? The law has been passed and it is our obligation to take steps to implement the law. It is as simple as that”.
The Electoral Commissioner noted the Commission has not even started preparation for the 2008 general elections at all. He said: “It is too far away. We will start that in the beginning of next year”.
Whilst some members of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) have asked the EC to implement ROPAL in 2008 general elections because Ghanaians abroad are yearning to vote, the opposition parties, particularly the National Democratic Congress (NDC) think otherwise.
Nana Akufo-Addo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and NEPAD, who sparked the debate, last week, asked the EC to implement the law. He argued that: "laws on the statute books that are unapplied undermine the rule of law."
He expressed optimism that its implementation would be successful to enhance the nation's efforts at entrenching democracy, especially with the introduction of the national identification system.
He said it should not be difficult for Ghana to design a system most suitable to its circumstances, since about 100 countries around the globe which have similar characteristics as Ghana are practicing external voting.
Credit: Accra Daily Mail