General News of Fri, 25 May 2007106
Kufuor casts doubt on ROPAA 2008
Ghanaians resident abroad may not be able to exercise their franchise under the Representation of People's Amendment Act (ROPAL) in the 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections.
President Kufuor who noted difficulties in its instant implementation in an address to the Ghanaian community in Brussels, Belgium, said that the government had genuine intentions in introducing the law and would not want to do anything that would create the impression that it intends to rig the elections.
The government would therefore ensure that adequate measures are put in place to check that.
Addressing cross section of the Ghanaian community in Belgium on Wednesday, President Kufuor said the exercise of the franchise of nationals abroad can be possible if the national identity card and the introduction of the biometric passports came into being.
“Once those things are done, there should not be any problem with fake identity of any genuine Ghanaian who wants to vote,” he said.
The President commended the Ghanaian residents abroad for their remittances home which he said now exceed four billion dollars.
He briefed them on the various measures being adopted at home to revamp the economy and mentioned the adoption of the Highly Indebted Poor Country initiative which was completed in a record time of two years; the new educational reform policy and the development of the country's infrastructural base.
With the steady growth of the economy coupled with excellent democratic credentials, he said, Ghana had been placed big on the world map in spite of its small size.
He said that world recognition had come about as a result of the goodwill of the people who were law abiding and ready to deliver their best in any relatively conducive environment.
That profile, he said, had put Ghana back on track and "one good thing keeps on following another" in spite of the tough but necessary decisions that were taken.
He deplored the tendency by Some people to deliberately put negative stories on the internet and said such stories should be treated as propaganda.
"Back at home, real development is going on, and I can assure you that within 10 years, Ghana will begin to join the middle income nations," he assured his audience.
By the Constitution, he said he would be leaving office after the 2008 elections and prayed that Ghanaians would work to give themselves a good government if not a better one than his.
President Kufuor also spoke about the energy crisis and efforts being made to solve it. He said the situation had arisen as result of over dependence on the Akosombo Dam over the years.
Mr Kwaku Acheampong, President of the National Federation of Ghanaian Residents in Belgium, suggested the establishment of a Diasporan Development Fund to enable Ghanaians resident abroad to contribute to the various national development programmes.
He said Ghanaians in Belgium would be ready to contribute to such a fund if transparency and accountability in its administration and management were clearly defined.
He expressed the hope that the fund would reduce the country's over dependence on foreign aid and its accompanying interference in the design and implementation of national development policies and priorities.