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Opinions of Monday, 6 February 2006

Columnist: Aning, Alfred Kwadwo Afodour

The Minority and ROPAB

In 1992 i asked my late uncle to advise some members he knew in the then NPP not to boycott the parliamentary elections. He disagreed with me on the grounds that the elections were going to be rigged. I believed it was going to be rigged but history proved me right. If the NPP had participated in that election, the 1996 election outcome would have been very different.

In a democracy, Participation, The will of the majority, The right to vote etc are critical elements.When the opposition decide to boycott parliamentary proceedings because they do not have the numbers to stop a bill it is an act of cowardice and lack of political maturity.When undertones of violence is predicted by respected politicians because the right to vote was extended to Ghanaians living outside it is ludicrous at best.Wake up the brilliant minds of the NDC.

And i mean it. It is not the end of the Republic. If this bill is unpopular use it as a campaign issue and throw the rascals out. If it does not resonate with the masses then it was an elitist opposition fed by the shortsightedness of the opposition elite.

The NDC should participate and work to refashion the bill. I agree with some of their concerns even if they are far fetched. A simple insertion of a provision that Diaspora vote shall not decide a presidential election will not only do the trick but expose the true intention of the ruling party. I do not believe the Diaspora vote is going to decide the next election. It has never been a decisive factor in any elections and it would not be in this case.If the Mexican recent example is any yardstick. It is much ado about nothing. However, the fundamental rights of citizens to vote in a democracy is paramount. As I indicated at beginning of this article the NPP opposition boycotted parliamentary proceedings they opposed. It was political grandstanding when they did it and it is the same with NDC. Call it so but do not peddle cheap fears that NDC(PNDC) will return to violence and not participatory democracy because of a bill to allow Ghanaians outside to vote. I am a firm believer in a robust opposition to keep the majority honest. That is your role and not to spread fear. Your sojourn in the political wilderness will continue if you take this path. Whether you like it or not Ghanaians living outside are a political force to reckon with when engaged. It was in the Gold Coast era and it is even now. Do not arouse the sleeping giant.

The Akans are the majority outside the country. The same applies to inside Ghana. You have to win the Akan votes to win any election in Ghana. Non Akans with the exception of President Kuffour have won all Presidential elections with an Akan electoral majority. Those who try to appeal to the dark side of our tribal instincts will fail. Our problem in Ghana is within tribes and Gates and not tribalism. Look at our history and stop deceiving our people. The Ghanaian elite including some in the NPP have always loathed us.It is part jealousy and part ignorance. They steal our remittance, our lands, cheat us at the ports and expect us to keep quiet. Their problem with us goes deeper than Ropab.It is a class war based on ignorance. Rawlings never hid his disdain for Ghanaians living outside. I was sitting a few feet away from him in Chicago when he asked Ghanaians too feel free to come home but in the sane breath not to think they were better than those left behind who suffered to keep the country going. How about those of us who hid in containers, trekked the treacherous Sahara and those who used every means to find new opportunities and to help those left behind. When my company was sold seven years ago i owned a piece of it. I invested every dime in Ghana and i will be damned if i allow anyone to deprive me the right to participate in the future of Ghana.

How dare you. I invested in the future of Ghana and have the same rights as those who collected taxes with one hand and used the other hand to steal and waste. I hope it is not the same people telling me i do not pay taxes. This is not only about politics but our future and the future of our children in Ghanaian society. It is a battle worth fighting for. Wake up.

We are wining already. We.are wining elections even though you call us foreigners in own country. Why don't you change the constitution to say we cannot come back home.



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