General News of Tuesday, 31 January 2006
Accra, Jan. 31, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Tuesday re-affirmed his Government's determination to push ahead with the Representation of the People's Amendment (ROPA) Bill, saying it deemed it timely.
It is up to Parliament to debate and approve or reject the Bill, he said in his State of the Nation Address, amidst strong protests from the Minority side in the House, that kept on shouting: "We want peace! We want!
President Kufuor said the decision to consider ways of extending the ballot to Ghanaians abroad went as far back as 1996 and that this was contained in the President's Sessional Address at the time. "Ten years down the road, interactions conducted across the country have unearthed both difficulties and fresh insights.
"In any case, why is there so much nervousness about something initiated a decade ago by some of those now protesting? There must be an unwholesome motive to the protest, to which the country must be alerted."
President Kufuor pointed out that the implementation of the Bill, once passed, would be in the ambit of the Electoral Commission (EC), the body charged with the conduct of elections in the country and not the Government.
"For any person or group of persons to threaten mayhem is unacceptable."
President Kufuor reminded Ghanaians that the strength and beauty of democracy laid in the power of choice. "We must be careful not to let people, who do not subscribe to the tents of democracy to take advantage of the freedoms guaranteed thereunder to subvert democracy."