Feature Article of Saturday, 5 May 2012
Columnist: Adampah, Marcus Garvin
PETITION PRESENTED BY THE TEAM OF POPULAR YOUTH (TOPY) TO THE INSTITUTE OF ECONOMIC AFFAIRS ON THE APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS OF THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE COMMITTEE - 30/04/2012 ACCRA.
Considering the fact that Presidential Debates have undoubtedly become an important component of the process for creating a level playing field towards building for Ghana a model democracy whose players are well informed and well balanced to uphold the tenets of accountability and fair play, the Team Of Popular Youth (TOPY) wishes to petition your august institution (IEA) to consider the concerns raised by some stakeholder political parties regarding the membership of the committee inaugurated to handle this year’s debate so as to forestall the noble assignment from becoming stillborn. In our view, the concerns of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), the People’s National Convention (PNC) and the NDC as articulated in The Herald newspaper and published on ghanaweb.com on Saturday, 28 April, 2012 under the heading “Presidential Debate Collapses” looks legitimate and the earlier the institution pays attention and reviews the composition of the committee to erase the perception of bias the better it is for this noble course.
As a youth group that has been at the forefront of motivating the youth of Ghana to put their trust in the workings of democratic structures and institutions of repute that have developed the capacity to address their challenges, it is our concern that such institutions should not in any way be cited in circumstances that question their fairness in handling of matters of national interest. It is only when society believes in the fairness of systems to deliver justice to all manner of people and groups at all times that its members are ready and willing to surrender their brute force in matters of infractions or extreme provocations. In recent past, TOPY had cause to question the apathy and total lack of interest by the clergy and civil society organisations in the emerging culture of intemperate language usage by the honourable Member of Parliament for Assin North, Hon. Kennedy Agyapong until he finally dropped the clanger. It is in this spirit, backed by a quote from Potter Stewart --‘‘fairness is what justice really is’’ that we call on you(IEA) to consider the appointment of the members of this committee in order to clear any shroud of doubts or fear being expressed by some stakeholders of this event that has over the years provided the opportunity for the electorates to assess the suitability of the presidential candidates that are asking for their mandate to govern them. Furthermore, the reconstitution of the committee will make the event credible both locally and internationally.
To enable you appraise yourself with the issues raised about the individuals on the presidential debate committee for your independent assessment and action, we provide excerpts from the publication as an attachment to this petition. The Team of Popular Youth (TOPY) is a registered, and an independent corporate youth organisation that believes in the vision of strengthening the capacity of the youth in Ghana to play an active role in effecting a positive social, cultural, political and environmental change that will benefit the Ghanaian society.
Leader: Marcus Garvin Adampah - 0261623679/0203838464 Chairman: Stephen Kenneth Nakujah –0244662684/0266434310EXCERPTS FROM
Source: The Herald, Ghanaweb.com , Saturday 28 April, 2012
* Pastor Mensa Otabil *
In case of the Chairman of the Committee, Pastor Mensa Otabil faces a charge of being a secret sympathizer of the NPP, and although a minister of the gospel, he had not hidden his disdain for the NDC. It has been noted that since the advent of the Mills administration, Dr. Otabil has refused to have anything to do with it. Even a national exercise such as national prayer sessions had been boycotted by the preacher when other charismatic church pastors like Archbishop Nicholas DuncanWilliams, Bishops James Saah, Agyin Asare and other senior pastors have supported the exercise and graced it with their attendance.
He had rather graced NPP platforms such as the William Ofori-Atta (Paa Willie) Memorial Lectures, and has been silent on the Nana Akufo-Addo’s “ all die-be-die” violence inspirational mantra as well as the genocidal inflammatory comments against Ewes and Gas by the NPP MP for Assin North, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong. Prior to the 2008 general elections, the NPP churned out a list of persons supposed to be killed by a Mills-led administration when it comes to power. He never made a statement about that, but all owed it to gain currency, with the NPP enjoying the propaganda bliss it was intended for. He recently planted a story in the pro-NPP Daily Guide newspaper that Castle had denied him access to the Independent Square in Accra for his annual 31 December watch night service called “Crossover” months after paying for the venue. The government instead decided to give the place to Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams to have a similar programme, dubbed “Passover”.
* Mrs. Jean Mensa*
of IEA On Mrs. Jean Mensa, Executive Director of IEA, she is accused of pandering to the NPP. They cited, in particular, how she fell flat under pressure from the NPP National Chairman, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, when the IEA issued a report indicting the NPP for abusing incumbency while in office. The IEA denied ever issuing it, only to be exposed later when the report was made public. * Professor Stephen Adei * Another member of the Committee is Professor Stephen Adei, ex-Rector of GIMPA. He is presently said to be writing the education component of the NPP’s Election 2012 Manifesto. Recently on the Accra-based Joy FM radio station, he publicly declared that the widely criticized “Free Senior School” policy by the NPP flag bearer, Nana Addo, was feasible.
Prior to this, when he was asked about his opinion on the violence that had characterized the biometric registration exercise as well as Kennedy Agyapong’s volatile comment, his response was the same as that of Nana Addo’s, virtually blaming President John Mill s, and asking hi m to make a statement. He is al so said to have made some statements recently at Valley View University near Dodowa, damning the Mill s Administration much to the annoyance of the audience, who graced the ceremony. * Dr. Rose Mensah-Kutin * Dr. Rose Mensah-Kutin, who is the Executive Director of ABANTU for Development, is said to be the wife of Prof. Kwame Karikari, who had lots of troubles with the Jerry Rawlings regime of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), leading to hi m leaving the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) as Director- General. He was once detained by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) during the PNDC days over subversive activities and has never had any soft spot for the PNDC’s protégé the NDC. Analysts have suggested that having Dr. Mensah-Kutin on the presidential debate committee is like having Prof. Karikari himself on the committee. Dr. Mensah-Kutin, a female gender activist, has under the Gender Advocacy group ABANTU for Development been criticizing President Mills for not appointing women into his government and insisted the gender imbalance is an embarrassing trend. Dr. Mensah Kutin recently told Joy FM that “ The reshuffle doesn’t give a good signal about women because what it does i s to give a signal that women are not part of the Ghanaian society and also that when it comes to public decision-making women are not to be considered. These kinds of actions actually confuse people, especially women and it becomes an embarrassment.”
* Mr. Kabral Blay Ami here *
Mr. Kabral Blay Amihere, Chairman of National Media Commission (NMC), served i n the Kufuor Administration as its ambassador to the Sierra Leone and later to Ivory Coast. The NMC under his leadership refused to specifically condemn Kennedy Agyapong’s comments but chose to issue a vague statement under the guise of “ making a general statement” . It took Mr. Akoto Ampaw a member of the NMC to condemn the hate speech from the MP. * Mr. Oteng Gyasi * Mr. Oteng Gyasi, ex-head of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI). He was onetime chairman of the University of Ghana Council on the appointment of President John Kufuor. Again, under the Kufuor regime, he benefited from looted state lands in Denyame-Kumasi. That plush state land near the residency was shared to party boys from the Kumasi. * Mr. Justice Emi le Short * Mr. Justice Emile Short, former Commissioner of CHRAJ. A former discotheque owner in Cape Coast, called “ Cupid” in a suburb called Bakaanu. He was once married to the NPP’s MP for Weija, Ms. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey. Although there are reports that Nana Ato Dadzie, Mr. Rawlings Chief of Staff brought him from Cape Coast and singlehandedly appointed him head of CHRAJ, he became more and more NPP than those born into the Danqua-Busia tradition.
* Other members of the Committee *
No issue has come up against the membership of Prof. Ivan Addae Mensah, Chairman of National Petroleum Commission, a position he held under the Kufuor-led NPP administration, Maulvi Wahab Adam, Ameer of Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, who also was a member of the Kufuor-appointed National Reconciliation Commission (NRC), Professor Esi Sutherland-Addy, of the Institute of African Studies – University of Ghana. Brigadier-General Francis Agyemfra(rtd), Visiting Senior Fellow, IEA, inaugurating the committee said despite the jolts i n the country’ s democratic practice, Ghana had since 1993 become one of the rare models of democracy, with a future for stability and development. He said as part of IEA ’ s quest to promote peaceful and violence free election, as well as achieve an issue-based campaign, it was organizing three Presidential Debates for the Presidential Candidates of Political Parties with representation in Parliament. Three debates will be organized in Accra, Takoradi and Tamale before the general elections on December 7. The committee will meet monthly, at least six times, before the debates, scheduled for October and November. The committee is an initiative of IEA and sponsored
by Star-Ghana and UNICEF.