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17.11.2005 Diaspora (Canada)

Canada-based Ghanaian warns of chaos

By Chronicle
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A Ghanaian Communications Engineer based in Canada, Mr. Charles N. Nkansah has said he anticipates chaos and anarchy, should parliament go ahead and implement the Representation of the People Amendment Bill.

He said parliamentarians should be mindful of a scenario where those living in Ghana have voted, and by results declared here expected a particular person to win, then all of a sudden Diaspora votes were brought in to change the final results.

Mr. Nkansah, who stormed The Chronicle offices yesterday, observed that the main argument in support of this bill was that Ghanaians abroad remitted their families in Ghana. He said the proponents however, fail to differentiate between individual families benefit and that to the state.

He continued that the government takes pride in saying that remittances from Ghanaians outside were a huge boost to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and at the same time lashed at Ghanaian professionals, who due to slave wages and poor living conditions in Ghana, chose to seek greener pastures abroad so they could remit their suffering families and thereby boost GDP.

He contended that the passage of this bill implied that, government was seeking to encourage and open the floodgates for more illegal migration outside this country so the country could benefit from more remittances to boost GDP.

He suggested that Ghanaians abroad could, for example, ask government to help them, so they could assist in the building of this nation in many other ways.

Mr. Nkansah noted that he had the opportunity to listen to a faceless and unknown group calling itself the Diaspora Votes Committee (DVC), claiming to be representing those of us Ghanaians Living Overseas (GLO) and which was in Ghana to seek public support for the passage of the bill.

He indicated that all their arguments suggested that a Ghanaian citizen resident outside, by virtue of his/her location had lost the right to register and vote in public elections and hence, the need for this new bill to restore this right.

Mr. Nkansah noted that as a Ghanaian resident in Canada, and one of the people the government and the DVC claimed to be fighting for, he had every right to set the facts straight that all Ghanaians, still had the right to come to Ghana to register and vote in public elections and referenda if they wish.

He argued that the constitutional provision granting the right to citizens to register and vote in public elections and referenda, does not bar Ghanaian outside from taking part; hence, for the Attorney-General, Mr. J. Ayikoi Otoo and the DVC to suggest that Ghanaians abroad needed a new law to restore this lost right, was a gross distortion of the facts and out of place.

“I want every Ghanaian to understand that 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” he re-iterated.

According to him, aside the right to register and vote, there were other rights like the right to free education that every Ghanaian is entitled to, but he found it amazing that the commentators had neglected those important ones.

Mr. Nkansah cautioned that it was unfair to use the contributions of the already impoverished Ghanaian to carry election materials chasing Ghanaians around the globe, so they could register and vote to determine the composition of a government whose policies do not affect them in anyway.

He suggested that a small fraction of this Diaspora elections money could be used to cultivate all the cereals, to revamp the tomato sector, and to grow other vegetables and food items in all parts of Ghana to feed the population and the surplus exported.

He further emphasized that the money to be raised to fund Diaspora elections should be used in the rationalization of our health and medical care delivery, to make it more accessible and affordable to every Ghanaian.

He observed that the education system needed a more serious attention since the streets are littered with many children of school going age, hawking and trying to make a living instead of being in the classroom.

The Communications engineer said this was against the fact that Ghana was a signatory to the International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions and other conventions regarding the rights of the child.

Mr. Nkansah was of the opinion that the modernisation of the capital had become a mere word on paper because of lack of funds and suggested that government used the money required for the implementation of the proposed law, to improve upon our environment and to fix the basic facilities in these public offices.

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