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04.04.2006 Diaspora News

Diaspora Vote Implementation Conference In Montreal

By Kofi A. Boateng"

, CANADA, MAY 27, 2006

Action Plan of Ghanaians abroad for the 2008 Elections

This is to inform all Ghanaians in the Diaspora that the Diaspora Vote Committee (DVC) that spearheaded the movement for the passage of the Representation of the People Amendment Act (ROPAA) is inviting Ghanaians in the Diaspora to a “United Ghana Diaspora Vote Mobilization” Conference in Montreal, Canada, on May 27, 2006.

MAKING ROPAA WORK FOR US IN 2008

By now, we all know that on February 24, 2006, President J.A. Kufuor signed the Representation of the People Amendment Act into law. The Electoral Commission now has the responsibility to design the Regulations and come up with the scheme for implementation. We, Ghanaians in the Diaspora, cannot assume that the ROPAA law of 2006 automatically translates into our voting in the coming national elections in 2008. On the contrary, if we do nothing, this is not likely to happen. In deed, our intelligence tells us that it is the preference of the EC and some politicians of both leading Parties to delay implementation until 2012 at best. WE SAY, NO WAY. We have not come this far to be abandoned nor toyed with.

Under the theme “UNITED GHANA DIASPORA VOTE MOBILIZATION”, the conference planned in Montreal is crucially important. DVC must take the initiative to recommend Regulations and implementation modalities to Ghana's Electoral Commission and to loudly emphasize our collective position that we intend to and will vote in the Presidential elections, at a minimum, in 2008. This will not be done for us if we do not seize the initiative as has been proven in the passage of ROPAA. Remember that “no one drinks medicine for the sick person.”

The “United Ghana Diaspora Vote Mobilization Conference” will examine the struggle up to this stage and solicit strategies for the implementation process. Other issues that will be discussed will be: Diaspora Remittances; Services to ease Diaspora participation in economic and political development; and future initiatives to deepen Ghana's democracy. DVC is non-partisan and in that spirit, this invitation goes to all Ghanaians who support and want to see Ghanaians abroad vote in Ghana's elections from abroad, beginning in 2008. There will be no time to debate the merit of ROPAA. We have passed that and must move forward with one voice.

The conference is scheduled for Saturday May 27, 2006 and the venue will be the Quality Hotel Mid-Town, 6445 Boulevard Decarie, Montreal, Canada. It is a one-day conference. Since it will start first thing in the morning and go through late Saturday, delegates should plan to arrive on Friday and check out Sunday morning.

The special conference rate for hotel accommodation is $109 (Canadian) for a double occupancy. Special rates for single occupancy rooms will be arranged on request.

Ghanaians in the Diaspora who wish to attend this historic, all-important conference should e-mail their confirmation to the Chair of the Organizing Committee, Michael Baffoe @ [email protected] by April 30, 2006. Please note that attendees will bear their own cost. Yes, we must make sacrifices. This one is for posterity and history. We can do no less. See you in Montreal and pass the message along. Members of all political parties are very welcome.

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