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28.03.2006 Politics

Assist EC to design ROPAA

By GNA

Kumasi, March 28, GNA - Mr Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, Member of Parliament (MP) for Suame, has assured Ghanaians that the Representation of People (amendment) Act will ultimately prove to be a unifying factor in spite of the rather contrived confusion and chaos that many people have sought to introduce.

He has therefore called on genuinely concerned people including political parties, churches, mosques and civil society organisations to help the Electoral Commission (EC) to design the constitutional instrument that will allow for a hitch-free implementation of ROPAA. The MP also appealed to the so-called concerned Ghanaians to give the EC all the necessary support to implement the law without a hitch now that the President had signed the bill into law.

Speaking at a meet-the-people forum at Kronom in his constituency in Kumasi at the weekend, Mr Mensah-Bonsu, who is also the Majority Chief Whip, said the Majority and Minority leadership have had the occasion to dialogue with religious leaders and have agreed to the counselling that the demonstrations should stop. Instead, there should be consensus building on the platform of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) on the process of implementation of the Act.

Mr Mensah-Bonsu expressed the hope that the country had seen the last of the anti-ROPAL demonstrations since it certainly cannot stand any critical justification.

Explaining the need for the amendment, Mr Mensah-Bonsu said after the promulgation of PNDC Law 212 to give effect to the 1992 Constitution, the PNDC issued PNDC decree 284.

This decree, he said, restricted the right of qualified Ghanaians to be registered since the decree stipulated that Ghanaians could only be registered in a constituency if they resided there for at least six months before the voter registration exercise.

Explaining further, Mr Mensah-Bonsu said it was former President Jerry John Rawlings who in 1996 tasked the EC to expedite action on the registration of qualified Ghanaians abroad.

The ex-President, he said, assured the nation that the prosecution of that agenda was going to be done to ensure fair elections and urged Ambassadors and election observers to acknowledge and give credibility to the electoral process and asked the opposition which had then boycotted Parliament not to have a fixation in their minds that the government would be doing something unorthodox.

Mr Mensah-Bonsu said this statement was greeted by a chorus of "hear, hear" from the NDC Members of Parliament.

He therefore asked whether it was not paradoxical that the people who applauded former President Rawlings in this effort were now the same people who in a sudden u-turn were shouting from roof tops that the nation will burn to ashes if the bill was passed into an Act and that the Act will result in conflict and confusion and that they would not accept any election which allowed the participation of Ghanaians abroad. 28 March 06

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