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Opinions Sun, 26 Feb 2006

Adding Insults to Injuries: My little thanks to opponents of ROPAB

... thank you Bro Atta, Shirlley Aryittey, Ofori Ampofo and kind



I am not one of the good guys who do write lengthy stuff, and honestly do want to keep this piece short, if I could.

Some of us left ?Sika krom? or ?Ogya krom? to seek greener pastures. In the process, we realized, we had to secure our base by seeking the legal documents, not to boast but just to gain some comfort so as to be able to provide for ourselves, and the rest of the family back home. Some went ahead to seek citizenship because that is the only way to peacefully get their new found spouses to survive, without licking the painful butt of strangers who would otherwise help you get it. It was not our intention to dessert our motherland, and never has been because we always look back to invest, and help family members and friends back home.

It is no surprise that we sometime do receive calls early in the morning from a long time friend who just got your phone number, requesting for $5000.00 to marry or work out a connection. To us, that is part of our quota. No evil intentions at heart.

Down the line, things started getting good as some got their green cards so were able to visit home. Then the first self-examination sets in. Just after checking out of the Accra International Airport, you are bombarded with the question ?when are you going back?. WHAT?????  That is always the number one question you have to answer every time you meet someone, a friend explained. Not long after that, I met another classmate who just returned back home to stay for good. What he said is, ?when I first came, I feel like a complete idiot. Do these people realize what I go through when they ask that question? I am back home for good, Kwaku, to help lift the country up and they keep asking me when am I going back, and when you tell them you are back for good, they look at you as if you are crazy?. That is pathetic.

 

Thank God, as this 30 year old guy finally found himself a Ghanaian wife in his travel, who is also from Ogya krom. She has no legal backing [you know what I mean] so like the others, he decided to naturalize and help her out, which he did. However, as he explained, he realized that unlike some countries where you get to keep your citizenship even after you naturalize, that is not the case with Ogyakrom. So in effect, he, like most of us, became a foreigner with a Ghanaian blood, who needs a visa to visit his motherland. Very disappointing. However, there is a way out. He decided to take the pain to process the dual citizenship, only to learn that it will take him a year to complete the process?. OH MY GOD. No big deal, he decided to pursue it. In his own words, ?I feel good being a Ghanaian so will do it?. Then he said as he read through the application and researched further on how the naturalization works, he realized that even after naturalizing to get back his Ghanaian citizenship, should he enter Ghana with the passport of his adopted country first, he will have to use that every time. That is perfectly understood, but then there is a sad twist. He is subjected to stay for given period, which must be renewed upon expiration or get kicked out. KICKED OUT FROM MY MOTHERLAND???. Very painful, but with God?s help, everything is possible. It became clear to him that every step of the way, there is something pushing him back. Most countries put in place, meaning full measures to pull their citizens back to their roots, even the unpatriotic ones, but not Ghana, where you face the full wrath and interviewing skills of the ordinary people for deciding to come back home.

 

 Then ROPAB came. I know some countries do have similar programs like what ROPAB is intended to do, including countries like USA and recently, one of the Latin American countries. I am not going to engage in an argument over the ROPAB, since I am so much saddened by the fuss over it, but my honest and simple point is, if Ghanaians are going to be against the ROPAB, can?t it be done in a way that at least will make those of us outside the country feel a little better rather than insulted. With all these parliament boycotts, demonstration and uneducated speeches? Do they really think we enjoy it when people engage in all sort of activities just to signal to us that we are probably in the process of being cast out? That our very own people would not even sit to discuss how to get us partake in the political process of a country we belong to, have invested in and keep investing in, just because it so happened that we went seeking for greener pastures [even though we always send a good part the pasture home to them]? I honestly wish this issue never came up, at least I would have felt more of a Ghanaian than I feel now. And when you think you have had enough, you jump online only to read some comments from some people, that made you wish you were never born.

 

On 14th February 2006, I read a news item from GhanaWeb, with the main source been GNA, with the headline ?Anti-ROPAB demonstrations to be intensified?. Now read some quotes from that piece.

John Atta-Mills ? ?Prof Mills said extending the right to vote to all Ghanaians abroad was a recipe for disaster and a fertile ground for cultivation of electoral disputes, which Ghana must avoid?.

This man cannot see Ghanaians solving complex issues without getting into a fight or a disaster. With all these examples out there, Bro Atta, didn?t you think for a second that your own people can study how other countries implemented theirs, the problems that had or are having, and try to localize it to solve ours, if possible? I just can?t comprehend this guy said that extending the right to vote to Ghanaians abroad is a recipe for disaster. Atta, tell us which elections in this world was accepted by the loser without a comment to the effect that all was not Perfect, even when they accepted the outcome. A presidential aspirant, with no hope that his people can solve issues?. I wonder why he wants to lead.

 

Then came Shirley Aryittey - ?Shirley Aryittey, a leading member of NDC, described the Bill as a cause for violence. She said nothing prevented Ghanaians staying abroad to come down to vote, rather than the ballot box being sent to them?.

PRICELESS. Shirley, did you stop and think about the fact that we work for someone, and cannot get off anytime we want, even when using our own legally approved vacation time? Birds of the same feathers?. like Bro Atta, she is also of the view that it is a bill meant to or that would incite violence. Why is it that these people are the only ones who see violence ahead, whenever something is not inline with what they want?

 

As if that was not enough, Ofosu Ampofo, the national Organizer of the NDC pushed his piece through saying,?the fear of the NPP Government losing the Election 2008 because of its poor performance had made it to introduce the ROPAB?. Ofori, what if the bill is passed with 2012 being the effective date? Will the NPP rig the elections, even if the NDC wins the 2008 elections? He went on to say to query ?how votes of Ghanaians resident in countries like Azerbajan, Afghanistan, Slovenia and Greenland would be properly monitored if ballot papers and boxes could get missing in the home country Ghana?. You are right but even in the United States of America, America of America, elections were said to have been rigged in Florida, [something we never thought would happen in Yankee] when absentee ballots were perfect.

The last blow came when Ofosu Ampofo ?described the ROPAB as reward for the brain drain that had become a topical issue and deprived the nation of its professionals and said the Minority would oppose the implementation of the Bill, if it were passed into law?. Thanks you, Mr. Ofori. Thank you. That is what tore my butt apart. So would this Ofori guy reject money wired by a ?brain drainer? to him, because the ?brain drainer? left the country to seek greener pastures? By accepting such money, Ofori, don?t you think you are rewarding the ?brain drainer? by making him feel good about himself? Do you blame the person for leaving when your very own NDC party stayed in power, a continuation of PNDC and couldn?t / didn?t stop brain drain. Do you think we are here because we really want to be here, and be officially referred to as Aliens? See, this is extreme painful and that is what I am talking about. If you are not in the shoes of the sojourner, you wouldn?t feel the pain. Ofori, the NDC and the other opposition parties who were once in power, had every opportunity to make things right, but they never did??.both the CPP and NDC/PNDC. Some or most of us wouldn?t have traveled had they done things right. At least, had things been well in Ogyakrom, I wouldn?t have been here, and in any case, our current status or name ?brain drainer? [as known by Ofori and Kind] and Aliens [official status of a green cards holder] is helping people like Ofori survive when we send them the money from our daily sweat and frustrations.

At a time when other countries are pulling its citizens together, we have Ghanaians, pushing us away, and when they see you in the states and you tell them you have been here 30 years, they say to you ?εyε a, kכ fie, Papa Shamo. Wa tsε wכ akwantuo mu?. Irresponsible comment. I have heard and seen a lot of people saying they have turned their back to their motherland. I keep asking myself, ?Will I ever turn my back because of the actions of some people? No, I won?t, but those irresponsible insulting and comments must stop. I still have my family there, and I cherish them more that I anything else in this world. I cherish my country Ghana. My root is my root. I cannot change it, so I will hold on as I deal with such unqualified comments from politician over there, which eventually wears me down. TODAY IS A VERY SAD DAY FOR ME, BECAUSE OF THE ROPAB NOISE, but to Bro Atta, Shirley Aryittey, Ofori Ampofo and co, I say thank you. Only time will tell.

Yaw Kwabia

A ?Brain Drainer?

Raleigh, NC

USA


 



Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Kwabia, Yaw