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General News
We Will Not Allow Rigging Of Diaspora Vote - CPP 6/15/2007
We Will Not Allow NPP To Rig The Diaspora Vote – CPP
Ladies and Gentlemen, fellow Ghanaians, following the recent indications from Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) that it is seeking to implement the Representation of The People’s Act (ROPAA) for the 2008 elections., the Convention People’s Party (CPP) in the interest of ensuring that both the letter and the spirit of ROPAA are fully implemented has moved to allay the fears of Ghanaians in the Diaspora on their concerns. Much as we all accept the ROPAA is a constitutional requirement that provides every Ghanaian the right to vote, we are equally concerned about the haste with which the NPP Government (using the E.C. as its surrogate) is seeking to implement ROPAA without taking due cognizance of the need for proper consultation with all registered Political Parties, locally and internationally. This has undoubtedly raised fears in many minds that a failed NPP Government is seeking to rig the Diaspora vote to maintain itself in office against the wishes of the majority of the Ghanaian electorate.

A great many Ghanaians are also concerned on a number of other fronts thus: • That the issues raised before the Bill was passed has not been addressed, including the issue of cost.

• That currently the EC is grappling with its brief of organizing free and fair elections at home in Ghana, whilst seeking to embark on the infinitely more complex task of organisng absentee ballots overseas.

• That the EC has not proposed credible mechanisms for ensuring legitimate, free, fair and independently verifiable elections.

For instance, during the last voters registration exercise conducted by the E.C. majority of Ghanaians could not vote due to lack of resources to open voters’ registration in the hinterlands, and in some cases, many had to travel long distances to participate in the electoral registration exercise. The end result was that, many Ghanaians were disenfranchised and could not vote during the 2004 General Elections and the E.C defended this position by saying it did not have enough resources.

The other issue of great concern to us as a party is to do with resources and logistics for the E.C. The fact of the matter is that successive governments since 1992 have had to rely on external financial support ( from donor countries ) to ensure the E.C. have the basic requirements to conduct elections, thus the E.C. still require more resources to enable it to conduct elections in Ghana. So the question is, how can it suddenly now find the resources which the NPP claimed in 2004 the country did not have to meet all the needs of conducting elections locally? Like many well meaning Ghanaians, we “smell a rat” even before we see one and would caution the E.C and the failed NPP government that they must not use subterfuge to undermine our fledging democracy, and thereby threaten the stability of our dear nation.

We would like to state that the CPP is fully committed to continue to play its role in the deepening of our nascent democracy. Indeed, we also understand fully the requirements of the constitution and ROPAA and support the rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). It is therefore imperative that we remind ourselves about the cardinal protocols on absentee ballots which are used as a benchmark to monitor elections internationally.

The International protocols on absentee ballots focus on three main elements:

1. Who should be eligible to vote from outside of their country of origin.

2. What sort of system of representation should be established for these people

3. How can the secrecy of the ballot and election transparency be protected.

Eligibility is generally based on a criteria related to age, citizenship and residency. Citizenship being universal in virtually all electoral codes, and residency is often linked to the length of a person’s absence. Thus British voters cannot vote abroad if they have been absent for 15 years, Canadian voters abroad cannot vote if they have been abroad for more than 5 years. Some require that a citizen should have returned home at least once in say every 3 years etc.

In all situations it is Parliament which must determine the system of representation. That is, how to translate the will of absentee voters into the country’s system of representation. Should it be linked to election of a President, Parliament? In our situation under the ROPAA, we understand that Ghanaians abroad will only be voting for the Presidential Candidates contesting and not Parliamentary.

On implementation of the ICCPR the dominant modes are postal and embassy. In cases where transparency is key then voting and registration stations must be established outside of embassies with substantial support from international agencies and intergovernmental organizations.

Embassy voting assumes and mimics the supervision and practices of the host country, but has limited geographical coverage, making it difficult for citizens living far from their Embassy to vote or to foot the cost and expense of traveling to embassies. This will thus discriminate against poorer Ghanaians abroad and those who cannot travel long distances due to several reasons. Evidence abounds where Embassy voting have been subjected to political pressure and manipulation leading to legal challenges in the courts and thus discrediting the entire electoral process. To avoid endless legal challenges on the electoral results, there must be a need to allow political parties and civil society groups a chance to observe and verify the electoral registration and balloting.

At this stage in Ghana’s democracy and with the genuine concerns expressed by Ghanaians overseas any absentee ballot must be conducted with Universal Standards and this in our view means that:

• The requirements of ROPAA must be implemented to the letter with no Ghanaian abroad disenfranchised.

• Parliament must decide the system of representation and not the EC.

• Clear criteria must be set as to who is a Ghanaian citizen.

• Length of absence for eligibility to vote must be determined.

• There must be independent registration or verification of the registration of voters.

• There must be independent verification of the ballot itself

• All the registered Ghana’s political parties must sign-up to the mechanism and process.

• There must be an independent electoral commission set up to conduct and supervise the elections and not the Ghana Embassies which is controlled by the NPP government to ensure transparency

We would like to state that the E.C. suggestion to only allow Ghanaians to vote in countries where their numbers are more than 500 is “ultra-vires” as it contravenes both the letter and spirit of ROPAA. By this statement, we would like to put the E.C. and the NPP government on notice that we are prepared to mount a legal challenge to this illegal action of the E.C. through the Ghanaian courts. The CPP is battle ready to take on the E.C. and the NPP government on all the issues concerning the ROPAA implementation and we call on all the good people of Ghana to resist this blatant abuse of power by the failed and desperate NPP government.

The Convention People’s Party thus calls on the other Ghanaian political parties abroad – the NDC and the NPP to an all party meeting to agree a charter for Ghana’s absentee ballots, which will then be presented to Ghana’s Government, Parliament and the Electoral Commission for discussions and implementation.

We will not allow the dispora vote to be rigged by the failed NPP, we will mount as many legal challenges as necessary at Ghana’s Supreme court, alert the international organizations and governments on a deliberate attempt to undermine our hard won constitutional rights. We will expose and oppose the NPP ‘s chicanery and its attempt to hoodwink its Godfathers in the USA, Japan and the EU about their true intentions on what they term their abysmal ruling to be “Good Governance” in a flawed electoral process aimed at clinging on to power after breaking a litany of electoral promises.

The “Freedom and Justice” as enshrined in our Coat of Arms was bequeathed to us by our forebears led by Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and we are prepared to defend it with all our might in the defense of our FREEDOM and RIGHTS. FREEDOM! FREEDOM!

Forward Ever! Backward Never!!!!

GOD HELP OUR HOMELAND GHANA

Secretariat Convention People’s Party (CPP United Kingdom and Ireland)

cppuk@hotmail.com cppyouth@gmail.com

Source:
Convention People’s Party

 
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