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16.02.2006 General News

Enfranchising remand inmates fizzling out


Accra, Feb. 16, GNA - A new clause proposed by a Member of Parliament to enfranchise persons on remand in Ghanaian prisons fell through on Thursday as Parliament took the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill (ROPAB) through the consideration stage.

Mr Yaw Baah, Member for Kumawu, had sponsored the amendment to back a principle he extolled during the second reading of the Bill. According to the Member, inmates on remand have the constitutional right to be registered and vote in public elections but were barred from doing so due to the provisions of PNDCL 284.

He said the basic philosophy underlining the administration of justice in Ghana was that a person should be deemed innocent and to remain a suspect until he or she was found guilty by a competent Court of law.

Mr Baah said the time had come for all the wrongs done against the person on remand were corrected.

Mr Joe Ghartey, A Deputy Attorney - General and Minister of Justice, said the ROPAB offered an opportunity to give full effect to the constitutional provision of Article 42, which gave all Ghanaians who are 18 years and above and of sound mind the right to vote.

He said those on remand had the intellectual and metal alertness to make their personal valid decisions on electoral matters. Mr Kobina Tahir Hammond, Deputy Minister of Energy, said those on remand were pre-occupied with their cases and were, therefore, not rpt not in the right mental frame to engage in electoral matters. Mr Baah might have another opportunity to reintroduce the amendment but would have to call for a second consideration stage after lobbying for the votes needed for his crusade.