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10.05.2007 General News

Government will find money for ROPAA - Bartels

By myjoyonline

Information and National Orientation Minister, Mr. Kwamena Bartels has advised the public not to pre-empt the ability of government to raise or generate funds needed to implement the Representation of the People's Amendment Law.

He told Joy News it was the proper thing that the law itself was passed but it would make better meaning if the law was put into effect.

He said government itself has not taken any position on the implementation of the Act for the 2008 elections but that the issue is firmly in the court of the Electoral Commission which must determine how much it would cost to run the system.

“If the Electoral Commission comes back to government and tells government it can be done for the 2008 elections and it will cost XYZ amount, I believe we would find the money to do it so as to enfranchise those who have been disenfranchised.

“If they tell us it cannot be done in 2008 but 2012 for reason ABCD, we would also have our position on that.”

He said so far the EC has said cost implications for implementing the provision was enormous but it was yet to declare how much, based on which government could also make decisions.

Officials of the Electoral Commission have been locked in a meeting in Accra on Thursday over the implementation of the Act.

The EC's meeting comes in the wake of a suit filed against it and the Attorney General for the Commission's failure to implement the law, which gives voting rights to Ghanaians living abroad.

Before the suit, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Nana Akufo-Addo had called on the Commission to take steps to ensure that Ghanaians living abroad were given the opportunity to vote in the next elections.

Thursday's meeting was expected to take a decision on the way forward as pressure mounts on the EC.

Three Ghanaians domiciled in the United States have gone to court to compel the EC to implement the law so they can vote, not only in the 2008 general elections but in all others.

They also want constitutional provisions disqualifying Ghanaians with dual citizenship from certain positions declared unconstitutional because they are discriminatory.

The EC had stated before the passage of the law that it lacked the resources to implement the law.