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24.02.2006 General News

ROPAB -NPP UK Statement

By NPP UK & Ireland Branch Office.

REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLES' (AMENDMENT) ACT 2006 – CONGRAULATORY MESSAGE FROM NPP UK & IRELAND

The executive and general membership of NPP UK & Ireland branch, in our capacity as Ghanaians living or resident abroad, would like to thank as well as congratulate the Parliament and Government of Ghana for passing the Representation of the Peoples' (Amendment) Bill into an Act of Parliament.

We now feel that our right which was surreptitiously and so unfairly taken away by PNDCL 284 has now been restored. We also feel that the Parliament has undertaken an act of bravery in restoring the dignity of our Constitution. We feel a sense of relief and belonging, now that Article 42 of our Constitution has been restored and we have our right back in principle.

We would like to commend our gallant Parliamentarians for their tenacity in not feeling intimidated by the threats of fire and brimstone that the antagonists of the Bill predicted. We hereby support the government in affirming, through the passage of this Act, that Ghana is for all Ghanaians wherever we live.

We believe that all Ghanaians of age and of sound mind must have a right in determining how our nation is governed. This should never be the preserve of the few who control the technology of violence. This right, to borrow the words of Mandela, is an aspiration that we hope to live and fight for, and if need be, it is an aspiration for which we are prepared to die.

We would like to thank the All Party Parliamentary Committee, especially its Chairman, Hon. Kwame Osei-Prempeh who toured the whole of Ghana and the rest of the world to educate Ghanaians about the ROPAB. We would also like to thank all the foreign missions, especially our own High Commission in UK for facilitating this education programme. We would also like to thank all pressure groups and voluntary organisation e.g. the Diaspora Vote Committee (DVC) in the part they played in the national debate towards extending the voting franchise to Ghanaians living abroad.

Our sincerest thanks go to our brothers and sisters back home in Ghana for standing up firmly and supporting the extension of voting rights to all Ghanaians wherever we may be. You have once again shown that Ghana has come of age and that intimidation and threats will not derail our determination for positive change.

Our advice to the government, at this stage, is that their role was basically to facilitate our right which by law the legislature was required to do and that this role has come to an end. The implementation of the law or our rights for that matter is solely within the domain of the Electoral Commission. It was regrettable that a law of such paramount importance had to degenerate into a partisan argument. From now on therefore the law becomes non-partisan as the Electoral Commission takes over the implementation. Whether the right will be implemented in 2008 or 2108 is entirely within the Commission's resource limit.

For us in the diaspora we cannot wait for the law to be fully implemented, for if we cannot vote sooner then the victory would have been a pyrrhic one. We are therefore entreating all Ghanaians abroad to embrace the ROPAA and call for its immediate implementation by the Electoral Commission. God bless our homeland Ghana

Hayford Atta-Krufi Chairman For and on behalf of NPP UK & Ireland

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