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14.02.2006 General News

Anti-ROPAB demonstrations to be intensified

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Accra, Feb. 14, GNA - Former Vice President Professor John Evans Atta Mills on Tuesday said the minority parties and other social groupings against the passage of the Representation of the People Amendment Bill (ROPAB) would intensify the campaign to force the Government to withdraw the Bill.

He said: "We are not going to allow the Bill to be passed. It would create confusion and anarchy in a peaceful Ghana in the midst of a turbulent West African Sub-Region."

Prof. Mills who was addressing thousands of anti-ROPAB protestors at the frontage of the Osu Military Cemetery after a six-hour march through some principal streets of Accra said the group would continue to use peaceful means to stop the passage so long as the Government refused to listen to the people.

The Former Vice President, who was the Presidential Candidate of the main opposition National Democratic Congress in Election 2000 and Election 2004 but lost to current President John Agyekum Kufuor on both occasions, urged the Government to immediately withdraw the Bill.

The protest organized by the Concern Ghanaians were led by Mr Mahama Ayariga, MP for Bawku Central; Mr Danny Ofori-Attah, Chairman of the EAGLE Party; Mr Bernard Mornah, the People's National Convention Youth Leader, Parliamentarians, former Ministers of State and leading members of some minority parties.

Prof Mills said extending the right to vote to all Ghanaians abroad was a recipe for disaster and a fertile ground for cultivation of electoral disputes, which Ghana must avoid.

He explained that through the peaceful protest the people of Ghana had exercised a democratic right to express their concerns through peaceful demonstrations.

Alhaji Iddrisu Mahama, Former Minister of Defence, said the demonstration had set the records straight that Ghanaians were capable of organizing peaceful demonstrations, adding the demonstrations would continue until the "Executive and Parliament" withdrew the Bill.

Ms Shirley Aryittey, a leading member of NDC, described the Bill as a cause for violence. She said nothing prevented Ghanaians staying abroad to come down to vote, rather than the ballot box being sent to them.

She called for a united front to against the Bill, and asked the ruling NPP Government to be frank and tell Ghanaians how much it would spend on implementing the Bill when it was passed into law. Mr Ofosu Ampofo, National Organiser of the NDC, said the march was the beginning of a long struggle to protect the credibility and integrity of Ghana's electoral system.

He accused the NPP of economic malaise and said it was not to foment trouble that the Minority parties took part in the march, stating the Minority Party, and the Concerned Group, which organized the march, was not for war but for peace.

Mr Ofosu Ampofo said the fear of the NPP Government losing the Election 2008 because of its poor performance had made it to introduce the ROPAB.

He queried how votes of Ghanaians resident in countries like Azerbajan, Afghanistan, Slovenia and Greenland would be properly monitored if ballot papers and boxes could get missing in the home country Ghana.

Mr Ofosu Ampofo described the ROPAB as reward for the brain drain that had become a topical issue and deprived the nation of its professionals and said the Minority would oppose the implementation of the Bill, if it were passed into law.