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General News
Peoples Representation Bill; who is Kofi Wayo? 11/30/2005
Peoples Representation Bill; who is Kofi Wayo?
Democracy is about deliberations, debating, the vote and the majority carrying the day. In the absence of a general election or a referendum, the deliberations and voting responsibilities rests on the shoulders of parliament and the sitting regime. To make democracy more embracing we all have been invited to contribute our minds and views for a better implementation or relegation of the issue/bill on board.

I have previously argued in my 21st November article why the need to allow for more participation in the affairs of Ghana by Ghanaians living abroad is essential to our socio-economic and political emancipation.

Some have argued well against the bill some brilliantly for it whilst some have issued threats in the midst of the democratic debate. In the end it is the majority in parliament which will decide.

I have not yet heard of someone issue a call for civil war in our peaceful country until reading Mr.Harry Agyeman of London’s piece on Ghanaweb 24th November.

If indeed Kofi Wayo like Mr. Agyeman puts it is calling for one man one matchet then he is an unwise politician who does not belong to the constructive politics of today.

I have for months pondered on why people should resort to insults, death threats and fighting instead of dialog and constructive critique. Inn ad or within a party there could be dissenting views on the way things are seen and understood or yet still the way things should be done, party members argue over it, cast their vote and decide on what do or choose afterwards. In effect, they disagree in other to agree with a common front later and all for the good of the intention.

Because nobody holds the monopoly on knowledge; not our noble professors, not our many book Doctors in govt, not our parliamentarians, our president nor indeed our noble institutions of learning. No! None of them at any one time has the clue to what should be done to emancipate our peoples and the formula for solving our numerous problems. And besides not having the clues, our resources are so minimal that in fact these two needs constitute why we have always sought help from outside.

We have sought help in terms of finances; loans and grants, in terms of ideas; on politics and the economy; on our societies and even on cultural matters; sought help on machinery and technological materials and so on and so on.

When running a marathon race and if you know you are not very good at running the best thing to do is to hang on to the best runners and you are sure to get a good placement. That is why it is not a bad thing to ask for help from outside and from those who are already making it or for that matter running a good race.

But we also live in a world where those who give also want to have a say in what activities their monies are put into often manipulating policy to suit their whims and secret agenda. This is also true in international business and negotiations.

Nobody will dispute the fact that the international monetary Fund and the World Bank make or affect more decisions and policies than all Ghanaian voters put together. Why?

Why should we accept that foreign governments and institutions dictate to us and affect policies that concern our daily lives and yet refuse our own residents abroad in playing a role.

Ghana needs every hand on deck both home and abroad; we need to wage war on poverty and disease, environmental crimes, war on unemployment, shortages in our schools and hospitals, war on bad roads and so on. But we can only begin to play the first important role from here by influencing the head that govern the body. For Ghana in real terms is not a poor country. We are first and foremost poor in our minds and our priorities and we prolong our sufferings if we postpone the things that needs to be done today.

Mr. Agyeman and others labelled the vote for Diasporas only as a right forgetting that it is also a duty. Normally, people don’t fight to perform a duty but we do. We do so for the love of our country and its future, not for some party which will seize to exist tomorrow.

We owe it to our dear country as an inalienable duty to contribute in whatever form to it. We want to do away with the notion of "country broke or country no broke…….." and to contribute as it requires and befits noble Ghanaians who care.

We are aware that Ghanaians wherever we find ourselves, there are some who no matter what will sew a seed of discord and Ghanaians have always fought each other even when it concerned issues for the common good. Those who believe in a better future for our children and grandchildren should not sit on the fence but join in this debate and our forward march for the emancipation of our country.

Everywhere in Ghana, our schools lack good teachers and lecturers and thousands of them are abroad yearning for the day they can return; Our hospitals lack doctors nurses and critical personnel, we need engineers, people with sound character and vision like Dr. Nkrumah and Dr. Busia of blessed memory to help our country; most of them are abroad, thousands of such personnel are abroad trying to find ways to quicken their homecoming……I am one of them.

The building and making of a nation requires minds and right, selfless attitudes but also patience and boldness as of in fact a need for the politics of inclusion, dialog and popular deliberations.

You see sometimes I do not blame our local politicians. It is always a temptation to be complacent when you don’t often have other things to compare with. There are certain petty basic things that cost only a few thousands of dollars, and yet can make a world of a difference to our country and people which nobody, in fact no one thinks about them until you have travelled outside and returned.

The way I see things now, when I travel home, is totally different from the way I used to understand and see things when I lived there. If I was asked to make decisions then, I am sure these decisions would have differed from those I would have made today.

Some of our people in America and Europe affect policy in these well-to-do countries so why not encourage them to start involving themselves in the affairs of Ghana? Some doctors abroad head in fact departments of hospitals in these developed countries what is wrong in enticing them to participate?

We all dream of returning and when our children choose courses in schools and universities here we tell them to choose courses that will be useful when they return to Ghana, what is wrong in getting a tap on the back from fellow Ghanaians at home and our leaders? Why the discouragement?

Nobody wants to return to a home that is unwelcoming and hostile and no one can prepare for your happy homecoming but yourself, and preparing starts with joining the debate about how our country should be run and by whom.

The debate has divided Ghanaians abroad because they have been made to believe that the Diaspora debate is about making a certain political party stay on to power through foreign votes. I say it is preposterous and short-sighted to say the least.

Because this debate is a debate concerning Ghanaians left and right, the benefits of encouraged participation in the affairs and politics of our country will benefit non but our country. Parties will come and go but our Ghana and its people will stay on. We will all die and disappear but the principles we leave behind are the ones to sustain our grandchildren and their Ghana for the future to come.

Not one person has come out with a single tangible reason why Ghanaians abroad must not vote. Some say it should not come on for fear of intimidation from people like Kofi Wayo, I say why should we fear doing the right thing? "Truth Stands" they say.

Some say it should be postponed, because Ghana is not yet ready; I ask; when shall we be ready?

"He who fights, and run away, lives to fight another day".

And have we ever thought of the publicity and good image it will bring Ghana as a democratic country wherever these voting activities are held? The encouragement it will give to tourists, investors and the respect it will bring to all you Ghanaians wherever you may find yourselves? I bet nobody has because we are only interested in partisan politics NDC or NPP. It is not about any of these parties at all. In fact, it is about you and your dignity as a citizen of a democratic and civilized country Ghana.

Most people in Europe and Americas know little or nothing about our country and when you mention you are from Ghana they ask you; "what type of government do you have?......is it a democratic country?.......what is the major language ….is there law and order?.......I hope there is no civil war there....etc.etc.etc!"

Do we think we can woo people to visit, come and live and work in Ghana with their hard earned currency, whiles these know at the same time that even native Ghanaians who contribute daily to Ghana’s upkeep are not allowed a say in its affairs?

I don’t know what people like Kofi Wayo are seeking to gain if in fact they are calling for unrests;

"..........they have nothing to gain but all to loose!"

If NDC members are the ones against this bill I say lets be constructive, I myself am a sympathiser of the NDC although not a member and there are many NDC members out here who are in favour of the bill.

Let’s debate this issue in a manner that befits our name as an up and coming country and an example for our fellow African countries to see.

Let the loser of both the debate and the subsequent vote in parliament go home to his family hoping for them a bright future, and wishing Ghana well.

I happen to know Dr. Obed Asamoah and had the privilege of meeting him on several occasions. The Man was educated both in Ghana and abroad, very well off before joining Jerry Rawlings governments including the NDC. He is principled and has brains of his own. To me, he is the one person that portrays or sells the NDC as a party with in-built principles and legal constructs.

No wonder he was and is still widely respected not only in the NDC but throughout the country.

We need people like that in our politics, people who have made their mark in life with solid finances, discipline, experience and exposure.

Who are able to stand up and speak their minds freely or possibly resign their posts as a way of statueing principled examples, people who join politics because they have something to contribute to their nation and not because they smell an opportunity to amass wealth? Some of these people can of course be found in Ghana but most have left the country and must be encouraged to return.

We must admit that the recent furrows on the per diems and the most recent drug scandal involving our senior politicians, is nothing but a reminder of the fact that we lack and need people who join and see politics not as a gainful money acquiring venture.

Europeans and indeed all western countries are tapping and outsourcing foreign know-how and skills in all walks of life from science, economics to politics. Some of these people are being drawn from poor countries like Ghana, why must we be lukewarm in enticing our own who have served well and gained valuable experience in these countries? ……….I simply can’t understand why. Why have we turned this debate into WE and THEM? We are all Ghanaians seeking the best for our country, and seeking to include all in the processes.

Ghana needs constructive debutants not warriors with threats of violence, people who can debate sensibly but can also listen to sense, people who will come into our politics with a commitment to duty and the vision to affect change for our poor nation which has been bleeding for far too long. But this is not to say that we don’t have corrupt Ghanaians abroad, far from it, rather, it is to suggest that Ghana will be better off with a broad range of qualified experts to choose from, experts who have a bond, connection and a say in the affairs of the motherland, and experts who will come to stay for better or for worse.

Allowing the foreign vote will also help create a third front in Ghanaian politics, a front which Ghanaian politicians will also have to face and answer to at press conferences when they travel outside. A front that can be used to lobby for Ghana, a front that will serve as a pressure group to affect change at home and a front that will stand in to market Ghana positively.

Let the bill pass for it is our inalienable duty to our country to join in the voting processes. Ours is the vote nobody can rig, the vote nobody can confuse with shallow manifestos, the vote nobody can buy with drug money!

And then let the electoral commission decide when it will be feasible and ready to implement the bill when passed into law, be it 2008, or 2012? It does not matter, all that matters is that Ghanaians everywhere can and must vote if they so wish and have the means. Down with spoilers, anarchists, thugs and hooligans in our politics! Ghana stands to gain and we wish her Gods speed.

For God and Country!

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