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Diasporian News of Sunday, 18 December 2005

Source: MacDonald Agbenyo, Toronto, Canada

Canada-based Ghanaian warns of chaos -Rejoinder

In the ?diasporian news? of Thursday, November 17, a Mr. Charles N. Nkansah anticipated chaos and anarchy, should parliament go ahead and implement the Representation of the People Amendment bill. He cautioned parliamentarians to be mindful of a scenario where results were declared before diasporan votes were brought in for a count.

Charles N. Nkansah claims to be Canada-based Communications engineer. If he really exists we would want to meet with him, seeing that he has the interest of Ghana at heart. We could engage in meaningful discussions. Anyone could walk into any media house and claim to be so and so but we hope, in this particular instance, that is not the case.

?Charles? the self-styled ?communications engineer? argues if the results of the election were declared before the diasporan votes were brought in, this could cause confusion. This is a hollow argument that has no foundation. If he were the electoral commissioner would he declare the results of an election before all the ballots were counted?

He is of the view that the government takes pride in the boost to our GDP from the remittances from Ghanaians outside and that this was an encouragement to Ghanaians to emigrate. The last time we checked, the constitution allowed for freedom of movement for all Ghanaian citizens. This allows for Ghanaians domiciled abroad to move back to Ghana to help with the development of the country.

Talking of faceless Ghanaians representing those in the diaspora, we would appreciate if he would put a face to his name. How can we contact him to arrange for a discussion on this important issue?

His argument that Ghanaians living abroad for longer periods have lost their right to register and vote in public elections illustrates his misinterpretation or ignorance of the constitution of Ghana.

To quote Mr. communications engineer, ? I want every Ghanaian regardless of geographical location, be it Greenland, Iceland or even Mars, once you are a Ghanaian, you still have the right to come to Ghana to register and vote in public elections and referenda?. Please be kind to yourself and refer to Representation of the People Law, 1992 (PNDCL 284) section 7(1) (1). This specifies requirement of ?residence in a polling division? but at the same time granting under section 8 the right to register outside Ghana to a section of Ghanaians.

The Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2005 seeks to remedy the discrimination contained in PNDCL 284 so that all Ghanaians resident abroad would be able to register outside Ghana.

The communications engineer is losing sleep over the fact that Ghana does not have money for Diaspora Vote. For your information over 40% of Ghana?s election costs are paid by donors and the DVC conjectures that the same donors would be in support of funding the Diapora vote. Instead of being preoccupied with cost, we should be thinking about ways to extract more economic benefits from the Diaspora in an organized way that will far surpass the cost. When people vote, they have a stake and they begin to care.

Mr. Nkansah was concerned that the modernization of the capital was not a realistic venture, and had become in his words, ?a mere word on paper because of lack of funds?. Well, an engineer will know that most structures, developments, build ups start as drafts on mere paper or in this technological world, computer designs. The fact that we cannot reach the stars does not mean we should not reach for them. An engineer is by nature not only creative and imaginative but very realistic as well. Mr. Nkansah is your creativeness and by the way what happened to your face. We can?t see your face. Please show us.

If the opponents of the ROPAA (the diaspora vote Bill) feel so strong and comfortable about their position why not just state the facts and let the good people of Ghana decide through their elected members of Parliament when the Bill comes before the House for voting. Those of us who live in Canada and in the City of Montreal know that there is no ?communications engineer? by the name of Charles N. Nkansah. The opponents of the Diaspora vote should keep in mind that ?manufacturing? opponents to ?storm the offices? of media houses in ?anger? does their position no good. When representatives of Ghanaians in the Diaspora wanted to state their case they sent ?real? human faces to Ghana to state their case. The held press conferences in public and granted media interviews. They did not hide their identities. Its time to be honest in our positions on this all-important piece of legislation without resorting to the creation or manufacturing of ?strong? opponents who are afraid to show their real identities.

I am due to travel to Ghana soon and Mr. Nkansah is invited to debate this issue if he so wishes.