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Opinions of Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Columnist: Amankwah, Nana Kofi

RE: We will not allow Rigging of Diaspora vote-CPP

On Wednesday June 13th 2007, in CPP U.K and Irelands wrote an article concerning the vote on diaspora. I will dismiss their assertions pertaining to rigging the elections at diaspora as overblown. The Convention People’s Party ( CPP) members should realize that they cannot use any language to force electoral commission officials to standardize the rules, forms and due dates that Electoral Commission will implement to overseas voters.
This CPP members indicate “the EC has not proposed credible mechanisms for ensuring legitimate free, fair and independently verifiable elections” The whole point is, what is their definition of free and fair registration? Do they want the electoral commission to start arresting those they refuse to register or forced or paid people to register?. During the election periods the EC must also provide transportations freely for people to go to the polling places to vote. The most astonished statement that was made by the CPP members was a complain they made about EC that there were not enough resources to finance the registration exercise. Commonsense tells us that citizens who refuse to register cannot vote. How can EC disenfranchised Ghanaians who refuses to register from absecure places and urban areas.
In addition, they said, “Firstly, who should be eligible to vote from outside of their country of origin” These CPP members think that they can use these peoples amendment bill to energize their political base or use it to score any cheap political points. I can assure them that they have 200 more years to go. Every Ghanaian who is above eighteen year old are allowed to vote. This is an individual’s constitutional rights and obligations. The point is, who cares if they vote or not? One thing I can assure you people is that the EC is not interested in how people voted. They just want to be sure that Ghanaians abroad are allowed to vote and that their votes are counted.
So CPP members stop making baseless allegations without foundations. EC had realized it is within the rights of our constitution for Ghanaians including those abroad rights to vote in 2008 elections not 100 years after the laws have been implemented. It is imperative responsibility for EC to implement it now.
Secondly, CPP members state “What sort of system of representation should be established for these people.” I thought CPP members were smart politicians; they know very well that we don’t have two sets of Ghanaians living in other planet. Where they have to make different laws regarding their voting rights. The electoral commissions have laws that should apply to every Ghanaian who wish to vote irrespective of where they are.
These CPP members made some inaccurate references to support their ideological statements pertaining to British and Canadian citizens who are living outside their country elections. The question is, do we have the same constitutional election rules or these CPP members are trying to out smart Ghanaians? If this is what their intentions are then the CPP party has another 50 years more to have a mandate to rule Ghana. They went on to say, “This will therefore, discriminate against poorer Ghanaians abroad and those who cannot travel long distances due to several reasons”. They could not explain which reason they were referring to, either the EC dilemmas or something else. For the CPP’s information even at back home EC does not send election boxes and ballot papers in front of people’s house for those who wanted to vote. Majority of the people walk, others travel to the places where they register to find their polling stations. Even in your own adopted country in Britain people travel, others walk without your government financial assistance. So stop been naieve. If our government calls on us to assist them during the registration and voting proceedings for Ghanaians abroad we will help. I’m a Republican poll watcher in my constituency in New York City; there are many Ghanaians in New York City who had already, trained and worked at polling places during our general elections. If the electoral commissioner asked for their help they will do so.
The CPP should prove the authenticity of their claims that they will not allow rigging of Ghanaians votes abroad? I hope CPP members will put their assertions in legal context rather than making false accusations without foundations. Education has less to do with many opponents reasoning then simple common sense.

From: Nana Kofi Amankwah (New York)

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