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Feature Article of Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Columnist: Dagbah, Francis Klutse

On the March to election 2012 … Atta Mills or Akuffo Addo?

………….’’this year, the people would have to make a choice between corruption and integrity; stagnation and progress’’ William Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo Ghanaweb.com, peacefmonline.com

The above quotes were the words of William Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo, the Presidantial Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), for the 2012 election. The call is in the right direction. Ghana is a great country. A country respected throughout the world. A country I believe strongly, as others, to be the reference point for African success story. A country of illustrious sons like Kwame Nkrumah. The country of JB Danquah. The country of Kofi Annan, Spio Gabrah, Akuah Kuenyehia. A country that produced Professor Allotey and Ave Kludze. This country deserves a leadership that has the yardsick spelt out in the words of Nana Addo. That Ghana deserves a political leadership with integity. A progressive minded political leadership. This is a great call. All of us, who have the welfare of Ghana at heart need to heed to this call. Ghana is in threshold of making another history. A history that defies the logic of all brains in the International cycles: That in an African country, a military leader-dictator went through election, served two terms in office, did not amend the constitution to serve for another term (or made himself a life president), conducted a free and fair election, and looked on as his party lost power, then handed over peacefully, to a rival political party. That an African country went through an election that saw a political party handed over power peacefully to another political party in a democratically contested election. That a civilian, contested an election, won and served his two terms, watched his party defeated with a very slim margin but handed over power peacefully. These defied the minds of many international relation experts. But they happened in our dear country. Ghana is in the threshold of making history again in the 2012 election. The call from Akuffo Addo is in the right direction.
Therefore in election 2012, Ghanaians need to look for a leader, among the presidential candidates, who will not be corrupt, a leader who will have the progress of the nation at heart. A leader who will protect the confidence the citizens have in him/her, that ‘’he can be trusted. He cannot chop our money’’. A leader who will stretch the imagination of the Ghanaian and inspire hope in our great nation and influence the sentiment and the mentality of the average Ghanaian that ‘’we can do it.’’ These and many other virtues are what Ghanaians should look for when choosing the next president.

The NDC presents John Evans Atta Mills (Professor), to the Ghanaian electorate. The NPP presents William Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo to the Ghanaian electorate. Other parties are getting ready to present there flag-bearers to the Ghanaian electorate. The Ghanaian electorate will have a choice to make, among the various candidates as to who can manage the country for another four years. Interesting times are ahead.

However, the question we need to ask is ‘‘which of the leaders-presidential candidates- represent the virtues espoused in the words of the great William Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo’s message? To answer this important question, I will like to re-echo the major points of in the speech made by Nana Addo at Essipong
1. This year will be a time for choice; a choice between stagnation and progress, between non-performance and competence, between corruption and integrity.

2. …..[T]he (NPP) party decided not to contest the outcome of the 2008 election because of its implications for the peace and stability of the country.
From the above, it means that Ghana needs a leader of integrity. A leader who is not corrupt. Ghanaians need a leader who loves peace and is never violent.Ghanaians need a leader who speaks the truth. Someone who will not lie at anytime, and can speak the truth at all times. Someone whose moral standards are very very high. Someone who can inspire hope, confidence, and inspire the imagination of the Ghanaians. Ghanaians deserve these and more from the next president.

According to the new oxford dictionary integrity means ’’the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness’’ It also defines corrupt as ’’ having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain, or evil or morally depraved’’. Competence is defined by the same dictionary as the abilty to do something successfully or efficiently.
Progress is defined as forward looking

As we make a choice in the next election, these are the watch words for every Ghanaian, and these should determine how the Ghanaian voter should exercise his or her francise, to elect the president, who will form the government for the next four years. We therefore need to put the candidates that are aspiring to lead our great nation, in the next election to test. We need to compare and contrast them, to make a reality check, to find out who qualifies. The candidate who stands tall when we apply the standards set out by the NPP presidential candidate should be given the nod. Since the NDC and the NPP elected their flag-bearers already, we need to apply the standards to the two candidates.
William Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo

William Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo is an accomplished lawyer and politician. He served in John Kufour’s government as Attorney Genral and Minister of Justice and also as a foreign minister (wikipedia.com). He came from a family who has deep route in Ghanaian politics. His father served as president of Ghana. His grand uncle JB Dankwa was among the founding fathers of the United Gold Coast Convention, the first political party of the Gold Coast (Ghana). As an accomplished lawyer and business man, Nana Addo established the famous law firm, Akuffo Addo, Prempeh and Co. This law firm trained a lot of important Ghanaian lawyers. He is also a great advocate and fighter for human rights. He was a member of the Movement for Freedom and Justice. He was part of the famous ‘’kume preko’’ demonstration.

As a politician, Nana was elected three consecutive times to represent the Abuakwa constituency. He was a very respected voice in parliament. As attorney General he was instrumental in repealing the criminal libel law. He was instrumental in using the legal process in punishing (jailing) the former government functionaries who were believed to have abused their offices. When he was moved to the foreign ministry, Nana did some great works there too. Nana was a good negotiator. He helped secure finance for the Millenium Challenge Compac, the Bui Hydro Power Project. During his tenure too, Ghana’s image in the international circles increased tremendously. Ghana became a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2006/2007.Ghana was elected as a member of AU Peace Council, Ghana was also elected into the UN Human Rights Council (akufoaddo2012.com). These are no mean achievements.
He was elected flag-bearer for the New Patriotic Party (NPP). He contested the 2008 elections and lost narrowly to the current president, John Evans Atta Mills (Prof)

John Evans Atta-Mills (Professor)
John Evans Atta-Mills is the President of Ghana. He was an accomplished Academician, He was a Fulbright Scholar and obtained his PhD the young age of 27. He lectured for 25 years in the University of Ghana. He was also a commisioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). He served as vice president under Jerry Rawlings’ National Democratic Congress I (NDC I) regime. He contested for the presidency twice against former president John Kufour and lost for two consecutive times. He was however successful on his third attempt, defeating Nana Addo, to become the third president of Ghana’s fourth republic.
Some of the achievements of Mills are worth mentioning. As a lecturer John Mills imparted his knowledge very well that many of the current crop of Ghanaian lawyers passed through his hands. He is a prolific writer. He has to his credit some of the very important publications

Some of the publications by John Mills include

‘‘Taxation of Periodicals or Deferred Payments arising from the Sale of Fixed Capital(1974), ’’ and ’’ Ghana’s Income Tax laws and the Investor.’’
He also held examiner positions with finance-related institutions in Ghana (eg Institute of Chatered Accountants, Instutite of Bankers, and Ghana Tax Review Commision.
As a president, John Mills (government) has also made some remarkable achievements. He presided over the reduction of inflation to a single digit, something that had eluded some of the previous governments. He also migrated some of the Ghanaian workers onto the single spine salary system. In the Educational sector, Mills (government) has been credited for the elimination of many schools under trees, supply of free text-books to pupils, increment in the capitation grants among others(wikipedea.com)

Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo and John Evans Atta Mills have done their part for mother Ghana. These two Ghanaians have really worked hard for mother Ghana. Ghanaians are therefore given a tough task to select the better of the two, or the best among the lot( when other parties elect their flag – bearers). They have done great for mother Ghana and therefore passed to some extent the yardstick of progress. More needs to be done though.

However, we need to use the standard measure spelt out by Nana Addo to make a reality check on the two personalities.
The article will therefore bring out some of the ‘‘negatives’’ of the two personalities.
William Nana Addo Dankqua Akuffo Addo
On the fight for human rights, Nana Addo was the Attoney General for Ghana when the Ya-Naa murder occured at Yendi. A clear issue of murder and the abuse of other peoples’ rights occured in Yendi. However, as Attorney-General, he prefered a wrong charge against the alleged perpertrators including Jahinfu (who was allegedly seen in possession of Ya-Naa’s body parts). Also Tsatsu Tsikata’s right was violated when he was arrested at church, but Nana Addo as an Attorney General did not even make a statement.

As a Minister of Foreign Affairs, some number of Ghanaians were killed in Gambia. How did he handle those cases?

In the moral plane, Nana Addo had allegedly had an affair with a lady and had a child with that lady but did not marry the lady. What do we say about that?
Nana Addo as a foreign minister was in charge when diplomatic passports got missing in his office. However no solution was found for the missing passports. Also he was a cabinet minister when government functionaries took over government lands and bungalows. He did not benefit personaly, but which kind of leadership is he going to give when given the nod by the Ghanaian electorate. Will it be that I did not steal your land and your money, it was other people who did it so I’m not guilty?

A political leader, a president must protect all his, her citizens. Ghana is a poly ethnic society. And all ethnic groups must be encouraged to live in peace and harmony. However, Nana Addo failed here in the infamous ‘yen Akanfuo speech’. Nana Akuffo Addo incited the Akan ethnic groups against the other ethnic groups ‘’we the Akans, it has been said of us, that when you beat one, the rest will run away. We will see. At Chereponi, we showed them something small. In Atiwa too, we showed them small. Nobody is a man more than the other. We all have the same testicle. I said all die be die.’’ Are we willing to elect a man who incites one ethnic group into violence against the other ethnic groups?

The beauty of democracy is that the losing contender must accept and concede defeat, however Nana Addo did not concede defeat in the last election. Akuffo Addo did not concede defeat however. Also Akuffo Addo lied by telling the crowd at Essippong ‘’ ‘’ Nana Akufo-Addo said under normal circumstance, there should have been a run-up but the NPP did not press for this. The party considered national interest, peace and prosperity to be paramount.’’ (peacefmonline.com)The truth of the matter is that the NPP went to court to restrain the Electoral Commision(EC) from declaring the results. What about this? Can Nana explain this?
Atta Mills
Atta Mills is considered as a christian. Many people talked about his christian values. A christian is supposed to hold dear the chastity of marriage. However, Atta Mills, was known to have gone behind the wife, and have a child out of wed-lock. He thus failed the yardsick of morality. Atta what are you saying about this?

Atta was the vice – president when Selassie Djentu was arrested sent to the castle and given ‘‘identification hair-cuts’’, however Atta did not make any comment to defend the poor young man. Atta, why? Are we safe?

On corruption, Atta was acclaimed by no mean a person than the renowned economist, Kwame Mpianim as not corruptible. However under Atta’s watch, a whooping amount of 58 million Ghana Cedis was paid to Alfred Woyome. Is it a case of I’m not the one who stole your money, so I’m not corrupt?
Ghanaians are offered a chance to make a choice. A choice between two accomplished men. The yard-stick has been spelt out. As we match forward towards 2012, let’s consider the two personalities and make the reality checks and see who will be the better of the two.

May Ghana be the winner.

God bless NDC
God Bless NPP
God bless our Homeland Ghana

Francis Klutse Dagbah, MPhil student, Univeristy of Oslo, Norway
Email: d_fek(a)yahoo.com

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