Government To Revisit ROPAA
The government is to constitute a multi-partisan group, under the guidance of the Electoral Commission, to revisit the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act (ROPAA) passed during the Fourth Parliament of the Fourth Republic.
Delivering his State of the Nation Address to Parliament in Accra,, President Mills said the NDC opposed the passage of the law when it was in opposition because of the flawed processes for its introduction and not on the principle of Diaspora voting.
It would be recalled that the NDC boycotted the passage of the bill on the principle that the money that would be spent on Diaspora voting could be used in other parts of the economy to improve the standard of living of the people.
But in his address, the President stated, “Our commitment to provide the opportunity for our brothers and sisters abroad to exercise their franchise was never in doubt.”
President Mills said the group which would be constituted would review the Representation of the People Law of 1992 in its entirety and not a piecemeal amendment of the legislation.
“This matter affects the basic power-conferring law of our country and it must not be the prerogative of the ruling government to use its majority to have its way,” he said.
He said all political parties must be involved to enable the country to reach consensus on the bill to replace the existing Representation of the People Act and its amendments.
President Mills gave the assurance that when he was convinced that there was real consensus on the provisions, the draft bill would be presented to Parliament to go through the various stages of passage.
On reconciliation, he said inter-party collaboration should be a regular feature of the agenda.
“We cannot impose reconciliation by legislation. Genuine reconciliation must come from the heart – and can only come from humility and contriteness – and perhaps also from a spirit of forgiveness,” he said.
He noted that the Ghana Political Parties Programme of the Institute of Economic Affairs had been forged out of the voluntary will of the four political parties with representation in Parliament, not by any legislation.
The President said that demonstrated what genuine reconciliation and collaboration, based on a spirit of wanting to work together, could achieve.
He said out of their collaborative effort, a multi-partisan ‘Presidential Transition Bill’ to regulate the process of transition from one government to another and which would put an end to the acrimony and bitterness that had characterised past transitions had been agreed upon.
President Mills said the bill would be presented to Cabinet for consideration and Parliament for enactment, adding that because of its multi-partisan nature, Parliament would have no difficulty passing it.
He encouraged political parties to continue with what they had started, so that through their efforts Ghanaians could forge a genuine spirit of reconciliation and inter-party collaboration to develop a framework for working together, despite their ideological and other differences.