GHANAIANS IN THE DIASPORA ALSO WANTS TO VOTE IN ELECTIONSBy Stephen A.Quaye, Ottawa-Canada
11/22/2011 12:14:08 AM -
Ghanaians in foreign destinations have been making immense contributions towards keeping the economic growing through remittances and have therefore made their position clear that they should be allowed to vote in elections.
President John Evans Atta Mills is aware of this great contribution as the minister for foreign affairs Alhaji Mohamed Mumuni, praised Ghanaians in the diaspora for remitting 4billion Cedis to Ghana every year which is the third contributing source to the economy making their call to cast their votes in elections reasonable.
However, they were hit by the news recently that rather, that right which they deserve looking at the contributions they make towards the economy was going to be given to people serving prison sentences for various crimes they committed against people and the country.
Therefore it was not out of place when Mr. John Anati, the vice president of the Ghanaian Canadian Association of Ontario-Toronto [GCAO], made it clear to the president that Ghanaians in the diaspora should also be given the opportunity to exercise their franchise.
The occasion was a town hall meeting between President John Evans Atta Mills and Ghanaians resident in Ottawa as part of his visit to Canada on November 19, 2011.
At the amphitheater of University of St. Paul Ottawa, many Ghanaians clad in their smock, Kente or decent Kabah dresses or nice suits to interact with the president.
According to Mr. Anati, barely two weeks ago, news reached the Ghanaian community in Canada to the effect that individuals serving in Ghana's prisons were going to be allowed to vote in the 2012 general elections in Ghana.
“In the opinion of the association, those of us living in Canada and other parts of the world should also be given the opportunity to exercise our franchise as the reasons are obvious” he threw the challenge to the president.
Responding, President Atta Mills explained that he has not personally authorized that prisoners should cast their votes in the next elections.
However he referred to a Supreme Court decision that prisoners should be allowed to vote and the Electoral Commission [E.C] as well as he is just to implement it but the E.C. has come out to say that it can not implement that decision in the next election.
President Atta Mills also referred to a U.N. document which asks simple question as to who is a Ghanaian and can be identified as such in a foreign destination to be allowed to exercise his franchise and at which position to serve as the pooling centre's which all needs to be addressed before implementing the ROPAL system.
Suppose the ROPAL directive was to be followed to allow Ghanaians in foreign destinations to cast their ballots in selecting a government, the E.C. should expect about 80,000 Ghanaians resident in the province of Ontario, with about 50,000 of them living in the Greater Toronto Area [GTA] alone.
With this population alone in Ontario-Canada which encompasses cultural associations, churches, alumni and professional organizations, the [GCAO] appealed to the president to consider allocating a special department in the government through the ministry of foreign affairs to solely handle affairs of Ghanaians in the diaspora.