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15.02.2006 General News

ROPAB: President, Christian Council Meet

By Daily Graphic
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President J.A. Kufuor and the leaders of the Christian Council met on Monday night to discuss matters arising from the government's bid to go ahead with the promulgation of the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill (ROPAB), despite the disquiet expressed by minority parties and some civil society organisations.

At the end of the meeting, which was held behind closed doors, at the Castle, the President requested the leader of the council yesterday to finalise discussions on some issues which were raised at the encounter.

In an interview in Accra yesterday, Mr Kwabena Agyepong, the Press Secretary to the President, said the President requested the Christian Council to advise the minority parties to discard their intentions to cause mayhem in the country because of the ROPAB.

Rather, he said, it was the view of the President that the minority parties should allow the Constitution to work and Parliament to discharge its statutory obligations. Mr Agyepong said the President was emphatic that all that the government was seeking to do was to respect and implement the provisions of the Constitution.

In his State of the Nation Address delivered to Parliament on Tuesday, January 31, 2006, President Kufuor declared the readiness of the government to push ahead with the promulgation of the ROPAB, which had generated some nervousness among sections of the body politic.

The need to extend the ballot box to Ghanaians abroad was contained in the 1996 State of the Nation Address delivered by the former President, Flt Lt J.J. Rawlings.

Some members of the opposition parties, particularly the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the People's National Convention (PNC), the Every Ghanaian Living Everywhere (EGLE) party, the National Reform Party (NRP) and the Convention People's Party (CPP), and some civil society groups have expressed concerns about the passage of the ROPAB, saying the bill was a recipe for violence and mistrust of the electoral process.

At a press briefing at the Castle last Monday, Mr Agyepong stated that the position of President Kufuor on the bill was that whether the bill should be passed into law or otherwise was a matter for Parliament. He said there was no indication that the government would back down on the ROPAB, despite the nervousness which it had generated in the body politic.