Opinions of Fri, 18 Nov 2005113
2008 Elections May Be In Serious Jeopardy
? Blame NPP/DVCThere are clear signals that the 2008 elections may result in chaos if the Ghanaian Parliament passes the ROPAB, and the voting rights of Ghanaians abroad are given actual effect immediately thereafter. What is very worrying is that the NPP government and the Diaspora Vote Committee (DVC) do not seem to bother about this potential derailment of our modest democratic achievement. It is obvious that they intend to push their agenda to its conclusive end irrespective of what whoever feels. In fact, they seem to care less about the consequences of their bulldozing the idea through at this material time. Although I do not believe that they wish to see Ghana plunged into some unfortunate nasty situation immediately after the 2008 elections, they are simply not giving a good thought to the cries of a good number of influential persons and political organizations, whose reactions could erupt in serious civil strife. THIS IS ABSOLUTE RECKLESSNESS!!!
I have read quite a great deal on this Diaspora vote issue, and while I still have not found any credible argument for why the proponents think it is urgent that the rights must be given immediate effect, I am fully convinced that the opponents have advanced plausible arguments for why Ghana is not ready, at this time of its democratic development, to accommodate Diaspora votes. All that the Diaspora vote advocates are saying is that, it is their constitutional right to vote and every effort must be made NOW for them to vote in 2008. This is all they are saying, and they are supporting it with arguments such as, Diaspora contributions to the economic development of Ghana, and other countries? achievement of this feat. They are assuming that since this is a constitutional right, if it is brought to fruition, all Ghanaians, including politicians and political parties that have serious misgivings would, or must, comport themselves and allow peace to prevail. I don?t think that it is fair or reasonable to assume that; in fact, it does not work like that in politics. In fact, unless they are also assuming that the government would be able to curb any disturbances in the nib, which gives them 100% hope that there shall not be chaos if this idea is pushed through, THEY ARE SIMPLY BEING RECKLESS, and they must be blamed in the likely event of any unfortunate situation.
It is interesting to note that those who are pushing for this Diaspora vote idea are not giving any thought at all to this side of the argument. I think it is very important that they do. It is only if they evaluate the possible consequences of the likely rejection of the 2008 election results by the political parties in Ghana (of course minus the NPP) that they can weigh these potential consequences against the immediate translation into reality, the voting rights or interests of Ghanaians abroad. I will say any day that if my voting in 2008 shall result in conflict in Ghana, I will, for the sake of peace, refrain from voting. This is not what the DVC and the NPP are saying; they appear not to care about this; perhaps, because they think that no chaos shall result irrespective of their actions. I do not intend to discuss the merits or demerits of Diaspora votes here because several submissions have been made, and are continuing to be made by more qualified comrades. I am only interested in this part of the argument, which is understandably being shirked except for the ?frank talk? by Mr. Kofi Wayo. I wish to, however, mention just two or three more issues before I go off this topic.
First of all, it is important that all of us, Ghanaians, must recognize and understand that political parties have more at stake in elections than anybody else. Political parties represent the voice of the people who support them. Political parties do all the organizations and invest their time and resources into elections. The peoples of democratic countries speak through political parties. Ignoring the position of important political parties in opposition is tantamount to ignoring the voice of the people. All around the world civil organizations and reasonable persons pray for positive legislative responses to the vulnerability of minorities to majority oppression. If about 48% of Ghanaians did not vote for NPP in the last elections, and almost all the major political parties in opposition are asking the government to hasten slowly in this push for Diaspora votes, but the NPP government is refusing to listen, and a Diaspora Vote Committee has invested time and money to support the position of the NPP government on this issue, then THERE IS BEING A MAJORITY OPPRESSION OF MINORITY VIEWS. The NPP government is counting on its majority in Parliament and the powerful resources of government available to her, and the DVC is perhaps counting on the resources of their members, who can afford to pledge money into pushing for a position being relentlessly pursued by the NPP administration. Both the NPP government and the DVC are bullying the minorities who lack political power and perhaps, resources to mount counter campaigns to speak out more loudly that it is not very urgent now for Ghanaians abroad to vote if that shall possibly lead to a conflict in Ghana.
If all of us can agree that political parties are important stakeholders in elections, why are the NPP and DVC ignoring the views of the other political parties? What do the NPP and DVC have to lose if they listen to the minority parties and keep planning towards the realization of these rights someday in the future?
Another important issue I want to mention is that it seems to me that it is not a mere coincidence that the DVC and the NPP administration have the same position on this subject (by saying this, I am suggesting that the DVC could have also argued that it is not very urgent for Ghanaians abroad to vote in the 2008 elections or subsequent ones if it is likely to result in chaos in Ghana.) I think the DVC is composed mainly of NPP supporters. I am sure about 98% or more of all the members are NPP sympathizers, and although they are likely not being supported directly by the NPP administration, they are pushing the administration?s agenda by giving it a different cloak. Since issues of elections are more important to political parties that represent the peoples? views, I would have welcomed a DVC, which is composed of people whose political parties shall be declared, and identified as the voice of such parties? supporters in the DVC. So, I would have been more comfortable with a description of the members of the group as ?A,? ?B,? and ?C,? from the NPP; ?D? and ?E? from NDC; and . . . . As it appears now, it is difficult to know whom the members of the DVC are speaking for. Are they representing all Ghanaians abroad or they are representing themselves? Or better still, they are representing NPP supporters abroad. Since their position is being parroted only by the NPP administration and NPP supporters both in Ghana and abroad, it is not unreasonable to conclude that they represent the NPP administration and supporters both in Ghana and abroad. MY OPINION IS THAT THE DVC IS AN NPP AFFILIATE.
Finally, I wish to state that if Parliament pushes the amendment through, all Ghanaians must know that the NDC and other major political parties, which represent a significant minority, are not in agreement of this fundamental major decision. The NDC must begin to prepare to boycott the 2008 elections or reject the elections if votes from abroad are added. The NDC shall not be blamed for this because the party has forcefully made the voice of its supporters heard and yet, the NPP administration and the DVC would not listen because they have access to the necessary resources and majority support to oppress others. Even if NDC shall be blamed, it does not matter; if those in power decide to ignore the minority in everything that is important for the peace of our nation, the minority cannot just sit there and watch; the minority parties are also representing people whose views are equally important, and the continuous marginalization of the minorities? views on issues is disturbing and must not be allowed to continue perpetually.
A WORD TO THE WISE, . . .