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27.02.2006 General News

Electoral Commission Unsure of ROPAB

By Network Herald

Checks by the Network Herald at the Electoral Commission suggests it is uncertain how the law on representation as passed by parliament last Friday would operate.

As at now, it has not determined what its mandate would be as far as how the law, having being assented by t he president last Friday according to the press secretary of the presidency, Kwabena Agyepong.

Deputy Commissioner in-charge of operations Kwadwo Safo Kantaka, told the Network Herald on phone last Friday , that the commission could not tell what it is expected to do, until it had been communicated to them.

He said the commission had not seen the details of the law and so for now deemed itself very ignorant of what it was all about but assured that when the presidential gives the nod the real role of the commission would subsequently be laid out.

Mr. Sarfo-Kantaka said immediately the president gives the nod for it to become law, the commission would make public its preparedness or otherwise as well as its true position of what has occupied the national psyche the last couple of months.

The Network Herald had sought to find out from the commission whether it was prepared to extend electoral priveleges to Ghanaians living ouside the defined boundaries of Ghana.

The commissioner for electoral operations, Albert Kofi Arhin, had earlier told the Network Herald that the top hierarchy of the commission would meet to deliberate and come out with its comments on the new law as well as the possible permutations with regard to possibilities and impossibilities without prejudice to the work of parliament.

The ROPAB, now Peoples' Representation Act, had heightened political tension of the country, with sections of the public insisting on its viability while others who thought it could be relevant doubted its timeliness.

It has also created an impasse in the House of Legislation that has led to an indefnite boycott by the minority NDC.

The EC's Deputy Commissioner in-charge of Finance and Administration David Adeenze-Kangah, meanwhile assured last Friday that Metropolitan, Municipal, District and Unit committee elections would be conducted nation-wide in August this year for which reason the Commission would update the voters' register in April.

According to him, "the objective of creating a credible voters' register as the basis for any credible, free and fair elections is a joint effort and the Commission counts on the active support of all and sundry."

He pointed that even though the Electoral Commission Act 1993, Act 451, enjoins the Commission to establish offices at the National, Regional and District Levels and proper storage of election materials that has not been the story over the period of 12 years that the 1992 republican constitution has been operational.

Mr. Adeenze-Kangah said the accommodation situation was worse at the district level and that "out of the 148 sub-metropolitan, municipal and district offices throughout the country, the Commission could not boast of even 50 fully constructed offices of its own."

He said, "Lack of office space constitutes a serious impediment in living up to the expectations of the law and administration of elections and the related activities”.

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