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27.02.2006 Feature Article

Dis(jointed) ROPAB

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After weeks of furious political dis-agreements, the question of whether to continue with ROPAB is boiling down to a tussle between the NPP on one side and the rest of the opposition parties on the other side.Ghana as we all know is a country where truth and common sense rules and therefore the arrogance being shown by the government should come to a stop. Ghanaians are sick and tired of being pigeonholed on one or two subjects when there are far more important things to be done to help the suffering people afford at least two square meals a day and a good education for their children.

One thing NPP and NDC should know is that no one party owns the country and no one party can stop the people from getting what they want.

Decisions affecting the country should be arrived at in parliament on non-partisan basis and not the partisan attitude started by NDC administration which is being continued by NPP to the detriment of the citizens.NPP came to power promising to drain the swamp of partisan politics by NDC but instead they are often seen wallowing in it.Our country is now a country where party trumps person and the politics of envy being practised everyday.The MPs' go to parliament just to tow or aquiesce whatever is right for their parties and not what is right for the people who voted them there.All the hue and cry over ROPAB is unnecessary. Instead of making this a nasty polarizing election politics, this is an opportunity for NPP and NDC to demonstrate that they can agree at least on something that threatens to tear the country apart.

Nearly half of Ghana's election budget is financed by Western countries and donors.Where will the government get the money to finance the ROPAB it is now trying to run down the throats of the people. Are they going to borrow another $30-50 million from India this time just to get into power again when our schools are sub-standard?.There is no need for a rush as it seems the proper foundation for this system has not been laid. The Christian Council should let the President and his advisers know that the government and NDC need to move towards a sensible consensus.The government can cite a long list of arguments to bolster it's point on ROPAB but at the moment there appears to be a wide range of opinion on the benefits it will bring. The bottom line is that the public is confused.It will be a better thing if the government takes time in it's implementation.What the government should know is that when issues are highly publicized it makes it easier to demagogue the issue. The Presidential spokesperson Kwabena Agyepong said recently that "the representatives of the people (NDC) should debate their concerns with their counterparts in the house".The million dollar question I want to ask him is why did the NPP parliamentarians troop out of parliament when they were in the opposition?. There were many important issues they failed to be part of them.Their actions at those times always played into the hands of NDC.To win issues or debates over each other is the major pre-occupation of the two main parties and not the welfare of ghanaians.

Nothing but power are their lodestars and the motto of each and every politician now is "Me, myself and I".It is always better to waste time on issues affecting the citizens and not on such a mundane thing like the much hyped about ROPAB.

Details relating to the amendment of a law is always dealt with and explained before the law is amended and not the other way round as Kwabena Agyepong recently said.What the government is trying to do now with this proposal is pregnant with possible political consequences and waste of resources.If the government in future wants to let all Ghanaians outside vote,they should be made to register with their respective embassies and indicate on the forms their constituences back home.All these names are then sent to the Electoral Commission in Ghana to be placed on record.After the voting, each Embassy sends the voting papers or cards to Ghana where members of each party would be present to help in the counting and compare the names and constituencies to the ones the Electoral Commission has on record. Nothing should be entrusted in the care of the High Commissioners as that would be tantamount to manipulating. The other problem is how the government will be able to check those people with dual citizenship from not voting.People who took citizenship of their host countries before the 2001 Dual Citizenship was passed in Ghana are not eligible to vote.If for example Ghanaians in South Africa feel they have been dis-enfranchised due to some technicalities whilst their brothers and sisters in Europe were able to vote on the same reasons, who or where do they turn to for justice as was the case in Florida in 2000?.All the High Commissioners are appointed by the president which means they are politically affiliated or have a loyalty to the government.What would ghanaians think or say when the counting is done at the embassies?.It's like a referee in a match being one of the players at the same time. MPs' have to go back to the drawing table and think big about this ROPAB.If the administration cannot come out with a reasonable plan then it should be declared a non-starter.It is because of all these problems that the NDC and other parties not forgetting the TUC are voicing their dis-approval.For anybody then to say the opposition or other associates should not criticise or oppose the government in certain decisions but to stand by it right or wrong is not only unpatriotic and servile but morally treasonable to the Ghanaian public. Seth Tony Bonsu. (Denver, USA) Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Seth Tony Bonsu
Seth Tony Bonsu, © 2006

The author has 4 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: SethTonyBonsu

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