View Full Version : Ghanaians Abroad Deserve The Right To Vote!

3rd March 2011, 07:43 AM
The comments by Mr Johnson Aseidu Nketia, The General Secretary of the NDC and one of the most corrupt individuals in Ghana today on the fact that Ghanaians in the Diaspora do not deserve to vote because the Representation of the People Amendment Act 2006 is not practicable, sums up the hypocrisy and the denial of opportunity the NDC seeks for Ghanaians.

The Representation of the Peoples Amendment Act (ROPAA), passed in February,2006 seeks to give Ghanaians living abroad the right to exercise their voting franchise as citizens of Ghana and to speak their minds in deciding who governs them. It is indeed strange that Mr Aseidu Nketia, a General Secretary of a Party that always to claims to be for the people or the masses seeks to deny the same masses living abroad the chance to vote.

The NDC just like the NPP has Ghanaian supporters living in the diaspora, who contribute to Ghana’s economic, social and political advancement. They spend huge sums of money in contributions to the party back home, buy tickets for party officials to come to the UK, cook food for them to eat and give them water to drink. Then these party officials tell them that if they want to vote, buy expensive plane tickets to come to Ghana to register and vote with no sympathy or concern to the huge financial , physical and mental cost. Where is the fairness and justice in this?

NPP UK and Ireland is of the view that it is time our Governments start taking Ghanaians living abroad seriously and see them as legitimate citizens who seek the welfare of their country. Ghanaians abroad contribute significantly to the development of our country. The housing boom of the late 1990s till 2008 in the private sector, which created over 100,000 jobs alone, is due to their investment. Majority of them also are breadwinners for their families, carry out development projects in their towns and villages and also champion the nations interests abroad by leading exemplary lives.

Ghanaians have a reputation for being hardworking, law abiding and peaceful. Many African Countries, such as Mali , Mauritius and South Africa were able with the assistance of other countries and development partners as well as careful planning able to get their citizens abroad to vote. Where there is a will, there is definitely a way to ensure that Ghanaians abroad get the chance to cast their vote.

We are bewildered by the fact that the President in his 2010 state of the nation address had promised to set up a multi party committee to revisit the ROPAA with the view of implementing it. One year on, the general secretary of the ruling party is sent out to deny the government’s commitment to the process. This is an indication of the type of government the Mills-Mahama administration is running.

We in NPP UK and Ireland challenge our friends in NDC UK and Ireland to join us to condemn the statement from the government, via its party’s general Secretary and join us to speak for our citizens who have been denied franchise even though we contribute over $4bn towards our country’s GDP.

Together we should insist that all Ghanaian missions abroad start to develop a database system to indentify Ghanaians abroad of voting age
We must as a matter of urgency open a voters’ register at our missions and embassies to enable Ghanaians to register.

We must identify countries that have Ghanaians over 5,000 in population and use these countries as the pilot to implement ROPAA. We must seek assistance and learn from countries that have been able to implement it successfully and develop our own model to succeed. The government must be seen to work with Electoral Commission and not against it to secure the funding both from internal sources and external sources to make ROPAA succeed.

In this era of Globalisation and the information age it is only backward thinking and myopic individuals like Mr Aseidu Nketia who want to live in the past and not acknowledge that the world is changing. We as a progressive nation must also evolve and change and Ghanaians in the diaspora must be able to contribute to political debate and decide who should run our country.

Source: Nana Yaw Sarpong Communications Officer NPP UK and Ireland - 07983302369