Madam Speaker, in established democracies like United States of America, Britain, Canada, Germany, even in India, New Zealand, Australia, name them, after elections, there is no acrimony, there is no violence, there is no strife. The reason, to me, is that in these established democracies, the elections are truly free and fair.
Madam Speaker, what has contributed
to this? In my view, the manual system of registration, election and declaration of results has outlived its influence; it is about time now that Ghana went electronic in our registration, in our elections and in our declaration of results.
Madam Speaker, again, as the Hon Minister stated, United States of America has been of assistance to Ghana since independence. It is my belief that the United States of America would be able to assist us to go electronic in our registration, in our elections and in our declaration of results. That is the surest way of avoiding acrimony, strife and violence after elections in this country.
Madam Speaker, just yesterday, the
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) announced that Nigeria had decided to go electronic in its elections the next time. It is not very difficult for us to do so. Apparently, we do not have the resources now, so if President Obama is coming to Ghana, a democrat that he is, my appeal to him is that he should help us to go electronic.
It is common knowledge that in the world, whenever there is strife and violence after elections, the whole world with the speed of lightning would go to give aid to places where there is violence. We do not have to await such aid, we need the aid now to be able to deepen our
democracy so that after every election the vanquished and the defeated would all accept the results as truly free and fair.
This is not difficult for President
Obama to do and this is not difficult for America to do. Our voting population is about a meagre 12 million people, and if you look at the voting population of the United States of America, India, Britain, Germany, it is quite big yet they are able to organise themselves in a way that they avoid violence. With just a meagre 12 million or 15 million registered voters, I believe that the cost of it would not be so hurting to United States to be able to help us.
Madam Speaker, this is my appeal to President Obama if indeed, he is attracted by our democratic credentials and he wants to assist us in maintaining the standards we have set so far.
Madam Speaker, I thank you for the
Minister for Communications (Mr.
Haruna Iddrisu): Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity to associate myself with the Statement ably made by Ghana's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, on the impending visit of the 44th President of the United States of America to Ghana.
Madam Speaker, ordinarily, I would
Madam Speaker, I understand that a response is not necessary, I will focus on my own - Madam Speaker, a response, I concede is not necessary. But Madam Speaker, it is important that we understand
the motivation and the choice of Ghana as his destination reflects in the fact that we have a peaceful, stable, democratic country, and as we further commit ourselves to deepening our democratic values, we appreciate that throughout the world, there is no hitch-free election anywhere in the world and particularly, even reference can be made to the United States of America.
Albeit, Madam Speaker, we owe an
explanation to the people of Ghana through their elected representatives that ideally, it was the wish of Government and the President that the Ghanaian public would have opportunity to interact with President Obama, possibly at the Independent Square, but owing to uncertainties of the weather and particularly following 9/11 of 2001, the Americans have repositioned themselves not to take any risk in respect of matters relating to the security of the President of the United States of America.
Particularly, Madam Speaker, the Ghanaian public would have opportunity - I am sure school children and others alike, there would be live broadcast on both television and radio as to the major events that would characterise his visit to Ghana.
Madam Speaker, what is remarkable
is his address to this august House that Government is committed to showcase that we have an enviable democratic practice.
In my honest view, the challenge is not in the symbolic presence of the President of the United States of America in Ghana, but in what mutual benefit we can derive as a country as a result of his presence and visit to Ghana. But they have already indicated their recognition of deeper democratic values in Ghana. And I think that as a people and as a country, we can congratulate ourselves, we can take pride