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Feature Article of Friday, 24 August 2012

Columnist: Asamoah-Siaw, Kofi

President Mahama's Thank You Tour is an Abuse of Incumbency.

President Mahama's Thank You Tour is an Abuse of Incumbency Following President Mahama's nationwide address last week calling on all Ghanaians to maintain the peace and unity in the country, the PPP issued a statement in support of any steps taken to ensure that the peace and unity is sustained. One of the issues we referred to was the abuse of incumbency as presenting a barrier to unity.

We referred to incumbency abuse manifested in the erection of huge billboards of His Excellency John Mahama and former president Prof. Atta-Mills ostensibly put up to promote and give advantage to the candidacy of the former in the 2012 elections. We ask again who is paying for the giant billboards of Mills and Mahama? Is it the state or the NDC? If it is the state, why does it not have the photographs of Nduom, Akufo-Addo and other presidential candidates? If it is the state that is paying, then we demand a refund to the state by the Mahama-NDC campaign.

The First Report on the Monitoring of Abuse of Incumbency Project in Ghana’s 2012 Elections cited the NDC for various abuses of incumbency and electoral corruption in the form of using official public/state-supported or state-organized events for campaigning by the incumbent party, promoting the incumbent party by state officials in their official capacity and vote buying.

We have cause to believe that President Mahama and the NDC have no intention to reverse this disturbing trend. This blatant attempt to cloak purely NDC campaign as a thank you tour for the late President Mills is purely an abuse of incumbency. Who is providing the fuel, the food, the "donations" being given to traditional authorities to come to durbars and masked political rallies? Who is paying to bring the people conveyed to cheer on Mahama in buses etc? If it is the state, then we demand a refund from the Mahama-NDC campaign. This is how cheating begins towards an election. In the USA and other democracies that we seek to emulate, presidents and prime ministers are forced to separate state functions from campaign activities and pay for their purely political ones.

There are no sympathies to take political advantage from. Ghanaians are becoming wide awake and are discerning enough to be deceived by inferior propaganda. Mahama is not Mills. Ethnic politics is dangerous to our democracy and so President Mahama must stop claiming to be the son of President Mills in order to win Fante votes. This is the time to stop state-sponsored corruption.

Kofi Asamoah-Siaw

National Secretary, PPP

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