Diasporian News of Thu, 23 Feb 200631

GCG Congratulates Parliament for Passing ROPAB!

Ghana Cyber Group, Inc. salutes Ghana?s Parliament for their show of bravery in passing the Representation of the People's Amendment Bill to guarantee the right of every citizen of Ghana, irrespective of his or her country of residence, to vote in all future elections. The historic vote in parliament today amends PNDC Law 284 which restricted the Diasporan right to vote to only students on government scholarships, peacekeepers, workers at the embassy and staff of international agencies.

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The entire legislature of Mexico rose and sang their national anthem when they passed a bill that extended voting rights to millions of their residents abroad. The [historic event] was a mark of victory for Mexico?s democracy and reach to its citizens everywhere. We look forward to such a victorious moment in Ghana.
~ Kofi Boateng [kboateng@aaionline.org], Diaspora Vote Committee, New York

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The MPs planned their celebration in style; white clothing with white shoes in some cases to match. Mr Felix Owusu Agyepong, the Majority Leader, the chief celebrant, wore a long flowing frock with a black cap to match. Nii Ayikoe Otoo, The Attorney - General, who had the pleasure to seal the victory, by moving for the third reading of the ROPAB, was modestly dressed: An ash jacket and ash trousers to match. They had all strolled into the precincts of Parliament early to savour the historic moment.
~ Ghana News Agency, Accra

Let the opponents of ROPAB have their demo. We shall have our votes!
~ Agyenim Boateng [agyenim.boateng@ag.ky.gov] Attorney and Counselor @ Law, Lexington, Kentucky

ROPAB is passed and waiting for the presidential assent! It?s only fair that citizens abroad who are contributing money to the economy of Ghana (I believe revenue from foreign remittances is in the top three sources of revenue to the nation) will have a voice and say in how Ghana is governed! Long live Ghana!
~ Stephen Aryitey [staryitey@yahoo.com], LLM, Banking & Financial law, Boston University

February 23, 2006 will go down in the history books as a day when the friends of democracy defeated the dictator babies. It will also go down as the day when Ghana became part of the Africa Elite 11, joining Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Lesotho, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Senegal, and South Africa to give the power to vote to its Diaspora citizens.
~ Dr. Kwaku Asare [kwakuazar@hotmail.com], University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

Those MPs who brought in the HIPC benefits were today clad in white and have brought in total democracy. Those who boycotted parliament during HIPC have also boycotted this move to democracy? When all is said and done, everyone had his way. The "we go demo" troops demonstrated. The "we go vote" citizens got to vote. That is, as it should be.
~ Dr. Kwaku Asare [kwakuazar@hotmail.com], University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

PNDC Law 284 should not have been amended. It should be REPEALED in its entirety, and a new constitution-respecting legislation enacted in its place by the democratically elected Legislature. I am disappointed that even after ROPAB is passed into law, there will still be a PNDC Law 284 on the books. Matters concerning the right to vote in a democracy should not be derived from a law decreed by of a coup-installed, rights-abusing, due-process-denying, property-grabbing military junta.
~ H. Kwasi Prempeh [hkwasi@yahoo.com], Seton Hall Law School, Newark, New Jersey
Ghana's Constitution needs to be "cleaned up" and the country's key institutions need to be "de-wormed." Otherwise, they will continue to chew the innards of these institutions, banishing the rule of law, meritocracy, professionalism and accountability.
~ Dr. George B.N. Ayittey [ayittey@american.edu], American University, Washington, DC

I believe our voices will be better heard if these phenomenal expositions of expat sentiments are filtered into the debate inside Ghana as well. Perhaps GCG may consider presenting snippets of these arguments from various expats to our parliament?
~ Kwaku Agyeman [kwakuagyeman@hotmail.com], USA


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Source: GCG

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